Vientiane authorities last week received US$1 million from UPL Lao Company Limited as part of its undertaking to support and assist initiatives of the Lao Government.
Vientiane Mayor Mr Soukanh Mahalath said the money will be used to buy equipment to clean the capital and plant ornamental trees and shrubs in preparation for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in November.
UPL Lao was granted “Specific Economic Zone” status by the National Committee for Specific Economic Zone in January.
Company Executive Director Mr Damien Lim said the donation is part of the company's commitment to develop 53 hectares of land located next to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane near to the Lao immigration and customs checkpoint. The development will comprise a commercial hub teeming with a shopping mall, hypermarket, hospital, hotels, shops, entertainment centres and other facilities.
The commercial hub, to be known as Vientiane Nelamit (Dongphosy Specific Economic Zone), has been given a lease of 50 years plus an option to renew for another 40 years by the Lao government.
The objective is to develop the area into a “duty-free” zone where Vientiane residents would find it cheaper and more convenient to shop in Vientiane rather than cross the border into Nong Khai and Udon Thani to shop for groceries, personal items and household items. This would have the effect of improving Laos' economy as the local supply chain would be enlarged, local people would be employed, and other indirect taxes would accrue to the Lao government.
Infrastructure works in t he form of earth filling began in February this year, and UPL Lao aims to launch the sale of four storey shophouses in June/July this year.
“We have a modern and practical four storey shop house design that would help increase the return of investors and tenants,” Mr Lim said.
He reported that there are more than 1,800 car and motorcycle parking spaces for shoppers wanting to shop in and around the four storey shophouses. We believe our four storey shophouses would be well accepted not only by Lao people but also by foreigners, as foreigners are permitted to purchase these four storey shophouses.
The company is in talks with several big international operators of shopping malls, hypermarkets, Do-it-yourself stores and home supplies stores in Asia.
“We have a special package that suits their needs. More importantly, shoppers would have easy access into and out of Vientiane Nelamit, into and out of the shopping mall and hypermarket, and 4 storey shophouses because we have provided more than 20,000 car and motorcycle parking spaces in our entire project,” he said.