Laos-China Ties Flourish
With 70 percent of Beerlao’s exports going to China, it is evident that Laos and China have bolstered ties all across the board.
In 2011, Beerlao began exporting to China and was the first sponsor of the China-ASEAN Expo in 2012. The manager of the overseas department of Beerlao, Phengrattanavong Khomsone stated that it took just four short years for Beerlao to become a household name in China. China is now the company’s largest overseas market.
China currently is the largest investor in Laos and the country’s second largest trading partner. From January to September, bilateral trades reached 210 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 25.1 percent year-on-year. China has heavily invested in everything from hydropower to minerals to garment trade in Laos in recent years.
The China-Laos railway, currently under construction, will further increase cultural and commercial exchange between the two countries. For instance, Lao agricultural produce such as organic rice, coffee and bananas have gained recognition and traction amongst Chinese consumers.
A source from the Lao Academy of Social Science has stated, “It takes at least a day to transport farm produce to China, but when the railways opens, it will only take four hours.” The source added that infrastructure cooperation in railways, roads and power generation is lifting China-Laos ties to a new level.
In 2015, China helped Laos launch its first communications satellite, which has significantly improved the quality of radio and television broadcasts in the country. Countless Chinese television programs that have been translated into Lao have been aired, with the two countries now currently working together to translate classic Chinese cartoons.