Looking North: Opportunity has Laos’ Young Entrepreneurs Eyeing China

Lao Young Entrepreneurs Delegation
Lao Young Entrepreneurs delegation heads to China

Partners from China willing to invest in business opportunities in Laos to supply outsized demands in their giant home market are in the sights of a delegation representing Lao Young Entrepreneurs Association that departed Vientiane’s Wattay Airport yesterday bound for a meet that follows the China-ASEAN Expo held earlier this month in the same city.

Mr Khamsene Sisavong, President of the Young Entrepreneur Association of Laos, is leading a group of young businesspeople that will join regional counterparts to attend a conference in Nanning from September 26-27. 

On offer are opportunities to produce goods and services in Laos or the Chinese market, one of the largest in the world with a population of 1.3 billion people.

“We have to find our business potential.” 

Transportation between Laos and China will no longer be an onerous barrier with the commissioning of the Lao-China Railway due in 2021.

Khamsense said Asean and China have signed a free trade agreement that aims to end tariff barriers, meaning exports and imports in the region will be easier, both to and from Laos.

However, Laos needs partnerships with Chinese firms to produce goods and value-add to Lao products for this vast, complicated and nuanced market. “Laos has the policies and the potentials to produce goods for the Chinese market. However, these policies will not be possible without the participation of Chinese businesses.”

He said Chinese firms have access to finance and technology that can be utilised with Lao partners so that they will be in a fine position to produce for the Chinese market when the railway is operational, he said.

Opportunities in Agribusiness

Agribusiness is a sector that can help make the most from Laos’ vast tracts of fertile land and youthful rural labor force to supply clean, safe food products and agricultural inputs to the vast and fast-moving Chinese market.

Yet no matter the sector, he said young entrepreneurs from Laos ought to be aware of growing competition in Asean and China, and it is time for them to explore business opportunities and take calculated risks so that they and their country can become successful.