Saturday, April 14, 2012

Western, Chinese and Vietnamese investors

Recently I saw a lot of Vietnamese flags at the cultural hall and was joking if this might be the coming handover ceremony since there are so many Vietnamese investments and people in town now. But this is misleading, since at least the amount of investment from China is nearly equal (as it is from Thailand, based on official numbers). So what is the problem with these investments from China and Vietnam? Ok, just face it: Vientiane has currently 5,6 or 7 shopping mall projects in place, and entertainment parks etc. We talk about a 6 million population, with about 200.000 people in Vientiane who can afford to go to these malls. So there are three possibilities: It is plain money laundering, a scam or there is more background. That leads back to the headline - the difference between (most) western investments and (most) Chinese and Vietnamese investments. China in particular isn't much interested in building a hotel in Vientiane or a bridge anywhere else. They are interested in ressources. So Country A needs a street, some medical equipment, a school etc. Country B wants ressources, something that Country A has. So Country B is offering Country A to build a school (construction workers and companies are from country B of course, so money stays in the country of origin), and in return it gets concessions. Most western companies are looking for goods to trade or services to offer. We call it market. They want to build and run a hotel and make it a long term investment. They offer a fair market price for the land or a lease. They pay taxes with which a country then can build schools, bridges or buy medical equipment.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thaksin today in Laos

Former Thai Prime minister Thaksin will arrive in Laos today to meet supporters from the north-east of Thailand, the Bangkok Post is reporting It is unclear how many so called red shirts will greet him in Vientiane. The number of 60.000 as it was spread in an expat forum sounds way to much for me, considering the capacities of the Lao and Thai border immigration. Also, there must be a booking for the national stadium as this is the only place to adress such a big crowd.
Anyway, as the Bangkok Post reported, the Lao government asked Thaksins supporters to not wear red shirts to avoid political trouble. I wonder what trouble they can cause here, but anyway.
I will check later if the city is in lockdown or if business is as usual. By the way, Thaksin will stay in the Lao Plaza hotel.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Asef short movie contest: Please watch Lao short film

We need some support. Nin, one of the best (if not the best) camera men in Laos, did a short movie for an ASEF contest. So far it is the only submission from Laos. It was done in short time, but we think we still have a chance. Please watch it and like, share, reteweet or what ever. It is time for a Lao short to get some international love. Thanks. Some background: The film was directed by Nin (Thanavorakit Kounthawatphinyo), who was the winner of the 2011 Vientianale Filmfestival and the Director of Photography for the first Lao action-drama "At The Horizon" He is one of the biggest talents in the Lao film industry. Leading female actor is Manoy, or Noy, or Naphaphone Phalivong, who is a anchorwomen of the Lao technology TV show "E-Corner weekly". It was an honor and pleasure to work together with this two Lao celebrities (and the whole team of course as well).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mary McBride in Vientiane

China to become Laos biggest investor

Today in Vientiane Times:
China looks set to become the largest foreign investor in Laos in the near future as Chinese businesses make further inroads into the country. A mega Chinese real estate development projects in Vientiane is taking shape.
I am quite concerned about these projects, since they all focus on consumers rather than production. With so many shopping malls now announced, I am wondering who actually goes shopping there?

Movie: Little Laos

A tilt-shift film by Joerg Daiber. Shot in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls, Nong Kiao, Luang Namtha, Phonsavan and Houayxay in Laos.