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Boten SEZ focuses on infrastructure investment

Luang Namtha province: The Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Luang Namtha province is focusing on infrastructure development and has attracted 369 companies to invest in the zone.
The Operations Director of the Lao Boten Economic Zone Development and Construction Group and General Manager of Hai Xeung-Bokeo Investment Development Group Co Ltd, Mr Lan Jia Wei, said the SEZ is accelerating the construction of infrastructure and other facilities, along with educational, medical, tourism and cultural resources to prepare for the opening of checkpoints to facilitate tourists.

The Boten Special Economic Zone in Luang Namtha province.

About 70 percent of the work of installing an electricity grid and 70 percent of the construction of a water supply system has been completed. About 90 percent of the road construction work has also been completed. Systems for rainwater drainage, sewage and road lighting have also been constructed.
In the near future, the construction of guesthouses, hotels and a concrete road to the customs post will be accelerated, and a new water plant has already been completed. The SEZ has enough funds to develop the area in line with the development plan for 20 years.
He said, “The construction of the Lao-China Railway has been completed and it has been made operational, and this has helped this SEZ attract investments from 369 companies, of which 360 are Chinese.”
These companies have interests in banking, the processing industry, tourism, imports and exports, modern technology, restaurants, entertainment stores and retail stores.
The current highlights for the SEZ are investments in education and creation of international schools and garment factories, which can export high-quality products.
The Boten SEZ has four major activities - international financial trade, culture, tourism and international relaxation, industrial processing and international logistics, international education and medicine, with the firms spread over a total area of 1,640 hectares.
The development of the SEZ began in 2016 with an investment of US$493 million, and the accumulated value of investments in infrastructure at the zone is about US$454 million. Renovations have been done on an area of 600 hectares, including the improvement of roads and completion of the construction of the northern part comprising 1.5 million square meters.
Buildings that have been completed and handed over to the project cover 177,000 square meters.
The SEZ has a population of 3,000 people, including 900 foreigners. There are about 1,100 Lao workers with labour management according to the policies of the Lao government.
Mr Lan Jia Wei said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the development of this area as investments were delayed.
The developments at Boten SEZ, also known as “Boten Beautiful Land”, are among the largest infrastructure investments in Laos.
The government first designated the area a SEZ in 2003, after which it was used to operate a casino from 2007 to 2011. Boten was then shut and much of the population vacated the zone. With China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the opening of the Laos-China Railway, Boten’s strategic location made it a destination for investments.
Under a new Chinese developer, the SEZ is being refashioned into an urban and tourism centre, as well as a trade and logistics hub.
Boten is located in Luang Namtha province, across the border from Mohan in China’s Yunnan province.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update August 12, 2022)


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