The top 10 highest traffic Lao websites may actually surprise you. Banking websites take top traffic dollar, with news sites and job portals close behind, giving a broad overview of what the average Lao internet user is spending their time on.
According to a recent survey, many Laos-based businesses feel they can make a saving by advertising their brand or related products through social media rather than investing in traditional websites. The belief seems to be that Facebook pages reach a larger audience in Laos, and achieve results faster than websites.
But while Facebook and other social media can help companies engage with customers, traditional websites still pack more of a punch when it comes to enhanced credibility and dedicated functionality.
In light of this, here are the top 10 Laos-based websites (made in Laos to serve the Lao market):
based on Alexa In-Country Rankings
The Top Ten High Traffic Lao Websites:
Coming in at number one is BCEL.COM.LA. The website is owned by the largest state-owned bank, Banque Pour Le Commerce Extérieur Lao, and provides virtually everything the public needs to know about the bank (hours of operation, bank holidays, contact information, rates, loans criteria, etc). But the bank’s high traffic is generated primarily by its two star elements: exchange rates and the BCEL One app.
Why exchange rates? Due to the fact that it owns a majority share of the Lao market, a significant number of Lao customers and businesses use BCEL’s exchange rates (determined by the Bank of the Lao PDR) as a standard benchmark with which to convert currency across the three most used currencies in Laos, namely LAK, USD and THB.
“BCEL.COM.LA is my browser’s default home page. My customers always prefer to pay in baht but my prices are listed in kip. I look at the bank’s exchange rates every single day, sometimes multiples times a day. I am fairly certain that others are doing this as well,” remarks Saysavath “Mickey” Keosanya, who operates a small cafe in Phonthan Village.
Why BCEL One? The game-changing app, BCEL One, has taken the local banking industry by storm. With this particular app, anyone with a BCEL account can transfer money to other accounts, pay for phone, electricity, water, internet bills and taxes, and top up cards for gas and tolls, among a variety of other functions. Both individuals and organizations are taking advantage of this convenient application, which is available on iOS and Android. A web-based version is also available for desktop users.
As the authority on exchange rates and with such a popular mobile banking app (both of which are part of the bcel.com.la domain), it is no wonder this page takes pole position among Laos-based websites.
A relative newcomer created just two years ago as a joint venture between a Thai IT specialist and a Lao writer, Lao Post has emerged as the number one online news website in Laos. With over 90 percent of the site’s traffic in-country, this page boasts over 900,000 page views per month. Lao Post has a dedicated team of content writers and reporters, and the website has gained a significant readership over the past two years.
Lao Post covers local and international news, and with a special focus on politics, economy, social issues and lifestyle. According to one source, Lao Post recently sold some of its shares to a private firm with interests in regional media.
“Lao Post always has the most information. Their Facebook Page is constantly flooded with news reports and their international news coverage is also quite up-to-date,” notes one local online reader.
108jobs is not the only jobs portal in Laos, but it is without a doubt the most prominent. Owned by the 108-1009 Group Company, it is the nation’s premier recruitment site that efficiently matches job seekers and employers. With a supporting print magazine called 108 Magazine, the website is well-positioned to become a leading one-stop service multi-channel recruitment media center.
Portal founder and serial entrepreneur Keovisouk Dalasane believes that “in an emerging market – or any growing economy for that matter – a jobs portal that serves as a marketplace to match employers and employees will always be essential. We grow as the economy grows, and we are quite humbled to be a contribution to raising employment in the nation.”
Having recently celebrated its 5th Anniversary, 108job.la has now taken swift measures for a 2017 re-brand. A fashionable, more modern logo and a soon-to-be-announced overhaul of the website design and functionality are mere surface improvements to the business. Dalasane has hinted at a broader, more regionally-focused portal, one which will engender a domain name change: 108.jobs.
Launched in 2015 as one of the first online delivery websites, mydelivery.la became an instant success. The online platform currently boasts over 200 popular restaurants in Vientiane Capital. The idea behind the site was to bring food delivery service online, making it more efficient and affordable for the end-user and raking in higher sales for restaurants. The site is owned and operated by Kiwi Company.
As the only English language daily newspaper in Laos, the Vientiane Times is highly read among expats and educated Lao professionals all around the country. Established in 1994 by the Lao Press for Foreign Languages, it operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. It covers a wide range of topics, including politics, economy, entertainment, international issues, stock market and business updates, and more.
Its website is very popular not simply among locals and expatriate residents in Laos but also around the world. The Vientiane Times is often cited by reputable regional and global newspapers and sites.
Tholakhong is a citizen journalism website driven almost exclusively by social media, particularly Facebook. Making use of the citizen journalism model to crowdsource news and distribute it via Facebook, the page gained momentum during the crash of Lao Airlines Flight 301, when traditional news media failed to provide timely information about the disaster. A second air crash incident involving senior officials that was similarly under-reported in local media helped to cement the website’s position as ‘first on the scene,’ as Tholakhong was able to provide information not available elsewhere.
After its incredible success in gaining a huge following, Tholakhong became one of the first to monetize its Facebook Page. The page is administrated by multiple page admins and is noted for its civic-oriented assistance, spreading news about lost items, missing persons and those in need of cash donations.
“Tholakhong has done a tremendous amount for the community, helping dozens of individuals get cash funding for medical procedures and blood transfusions. More importantly, the Tholakhong movement has engendered a whistleblower culture that has been serving as a check on many of society’s social ills. Hit-and-run drivers, petty thieves, mischievous employees, and fraudulent business owners are easy targets for whistleblowers as the former comprise a group of people that are seldom chastised publicly and are seen to have escaped the law more often than not. Encouraging the public to speak out against these societal menaces is healthy for the country,” observes Sithat, a social media enthusiast.
Owned and operated by the Victory Future Tech Sole Company, kidork.com is an online publication that covers a variety of general news and content. With a colorful, easy-on-the-eyes layout, the website is divided into many interesting sections and also features a video content section.
“Kid Ork” in the Lao language means “to have an idea; a solution.” It would be equivalent to someone saying “Eureka! I’ve got it.”
“The website has a lot of useful information. I especially enjoy their health and entertainment articles,” shares Noy, a local makeup artist.
The Bank of the Lao P.D.R. (BOL, for short) is the central bank of Laos. It is also the bank of last resort, controlling the money supply, managing the country’s reserves, and supervising the commercial banks operating in Laos.
The Bank of the Lao PDR determines official exchange rates in the country, which may explain its position as 8th most visited Lao website.
The Laotian Times is a privately-held online English language news site with the mission of “making news about Laos accessible to the world.” The website is experiencing a rapidly growing readership, and has already become one of the leading online sources of English language news about Laos. A collaboration between international investors and local content partners, The Laotian Times focuses on political and economic news, and is a mix of curated and original, research-based content.
Sokviek.com is another jobs portal that is quickly gaining popularity. The site allows employers to post jobs, and jobseekers to find work. The name sokviek is a transliteration of ຊອກວຽກ, meaning “job search.” The site is a joint venture partnership between Pakaad and TNK Media.
See coverage on the official launch of the portal here.
The Rest (11-25):
The rest of the list contains the following websites: