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First ASEAN-US Business forum to kick off to chart economic cooperation
(Shanghai Daily/Xinhua, July 13)

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The ASEAN-U.S. Business Forum that is to kick off Friday evening here attracted the largest ever number of American business executives to seek business opportunities in thes Southeast Asian countries.

The ASEAN-U.S. Business Forum will bring together hundreds of cabinet ministers and senior policymakers from the U.S. and ASEAN governments, as well as business leaders from the U.S. and ASEAN, to address the opportunities and challenges that will define the direction of future U.S.-ASEAN economic cooperation, said a joint press release from the organizers, the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Myanmar President Thein Sein, and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will attend the forum, said the press release.

6,226 Posts
Laos, Cambodia set for more listings

Wichit Chaitrong

The Nation
August 31, 2012 1:00 am
Private companies and state enterprises are expected to raise large amounts of funds via the stock exchanges in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia over the next several years.

More private firms will list on the Cambodian and Laotian bourses next year, their executives told media yesterday at the "Thailand Focus 2012" conference in Bangkok.

Hong Sok Hour, chief executive officer of the Cambodia Securities Exchange, said yesterday that there was currently only one listed firm on the bourse, with market capitalisation of US$140 million (Bt4.4 billion), but five more were expected to list next year. Three of those firms are state enterprises - two port facilitators and one telecom.

He said one-third of investors trading shares in the local market were foreign.

Dethphouvang Moularat, chairman and CEO of the Lao Securities Exchange, said he expected one firm to list on the bourse next year, Lao Telecom Co, which is going to merge with Enterprise Telecommunications Lao. It will join two firms already listed.

He said Laotian investors preferred long-term plays. "They keep shares to store their wealth to be handed down to their children."

Such behaviour has made the market less liquid, he said. However, the authorities do not want many local people to trade shares because of high risks.

"We want them to learn first - let foreign investors engage in financial games," he said.

Meanwhile, Stock Exchange of Thailand president Charamporn Jotikasthira said CK Power Co, a unit of Ch Karnchang Group that is registered in Laos to oversee projects there, was expected to list on the SET in the fourth quarter of this year.

Overseas-listed holding companies will be allowed to list on the SET from tomorrow onwards, as a mechanism to promote overseas investment of Thai companies ahead of the activation of the Asean Economic Community.

Charamporn said listing firms were also expected to raise more funds to expand their businesses in the country and abroad.

Aphinant Klewpantinond, CEO of Phatra Securities, said fund-raising could be done via other channels such as infrastructure funds, rather than equity trading.

Le Hai Tra, deputy CEO of Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, said it had signed a letter of intent to join Asean's stock-market linkage platform.

Tran Van Dzung, CEO of Hanoi Stock Exchange, said the two Vietnamese bourses were in the process of merging into a single entity.

6,226 Posts
Google today announced it has added its 65th language to Google translate:

Lao. A quick check shows the new language (currently in alpha) is indeed available on the new service, although it’s not yet offered in Google Chrome’s built-in translation feature.

Google took the opportunity today to emphasize its Translate team is “constantly working to improve automatic translations,” including collecting new data, tweaking algorithms, and improving the grammaticality of translations. This is for languages available since day one, all the way up to languages that have yet to be added because they don’t meet the search giant’s “launch standards.”

Obviously Lao has met Google’s expectations, otherwise it wouldn’t be available now (see the screenshot above). Nevertheless, the company says “translation quality is at the lower end compared to that of other languages we offer” and that the Lao option will fail in situations “where more precise translations are needed.”

If you know Lao, the company is thus asking for your help. You can contribute in two ways: provide alternate translations by clicking on words or phrases of the translated sentence and use the Google Translator Toolkit to upload translations.

If you don’t know anything about the Lao language, here’s a short excerpt from Wikipedia: “Lao or Laotian is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos, and also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, where it is usually referred to as the Isan language.”

6,226 Posts
Vientiane motorists unhappy with parking fee hike

Car owners in Vientiane are unhappy about the prices they are being charged to use public parking areas, as these areas have been created using money the government has collected from taxes.

A row of parking spaces on Setthathirath Road in front of Nam Phou Fountain is one area in particular that the authorities have received complaints about, after motorists found themselves being charged 10,000 kip to park there. Before the fountain and square reopened last month after being renovated, the parking fee was only 3,000 kip.

The parking area at Namphou fountain in central Vientiane.

Mr Oubkeo Luangphaxay, a representative of Asia Investment and Financial Service, which invested in the renovation, said the parking fee was raised by the company for the benefit of motorists.

“We're charging 10,000 kip because we want people to feel confident that their vehicles are safe when they're parked here.”

Ms Amone Thapdavong, a Vientiane resident who used to park in this area, told the Vientiane Times on Friday she was shocked when she found out the parking fee had risen so drastically and she would warn others about it. “I will tell my friends not to park here because it is quite expensive.”

An official from the Vientiane Urban Development Administration Authority (VUDAA), Mr Bouala Chanthavixay, told Vientiane Times on Friday that there are 18 public parking areas in Vientiane and although not all come under VUDAA, the Namphou parking does.

But he explained that the authority had handed over the operating responsibilities to the Mix Restaurant and Bar, which has recently opened at Nam Phou and is owned by Asia Investment and Financial Service, who were in charge of the redevelopment of the square.

Mr Bouala said all the public parking areas under VUDAA are operated by private individuals.

“We give these parking areas over to private companies to operate because we get more money than if we use VUDAA parking attendants.”

He also said that normally it costs 3,000 to 5,000 kip for public parking, depending on the area, and admitted that 10,000 kip was excessive.

The VUDAA authorities will soon be meeting with the staff of Asia Investment and Financial Service to resolve the matter.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update September 24, 2012)

6,226 Posts
Soochow University to build a campus in Vientiane

Soochow University in Laos has signed a concession agreement for 23 hectares of land in Vientiane, which will be the site of its campus in the capital.

Director of Vientiane Planning and Investment Department, Mr Vixay Xavanna, and Vice President of Soochow University in Laos, Mr Wang Jiexian, exchange documents after signing a land concession agreement.

According to information provided by the school, the deal they have concluded with Vientiane authorities involves a 50 year concession at a rate of US$500 per hectare per year for a period of 50 years, with an option to extend the deal for another 25 years if they wish.

Up until now, Soochow has been using the campus facilities at Kavin College, but the new agreement will allow them to build their own facilities in Vientiane. The campus will be built in Xiengda village, Xaysettha district, and is expected to cost more than US$24.3 million to construct.

Soochow University will finance the payment of compensation to people who will have to relocate to make way for the campus, with the compensation process to be overseen by Vientiane authorities.

Soochow University is based in Suzhou in southern China. It commenced educational cooperation with Laos in 2007 and since then has been laying the groundwork for the opening of its own campus, which is now coming to fruition.

In 2010, Soochow University obtained the approval of the Lao government to provide undergraduate and graduate education in the country, becoming the first foreign institute of higher education to gain such approval in the country.

Vice President of Soochow University in Laos, Mr Wang Jiexian, said at the signing ceremony that the university will offer another choice in education and help further development in Laos.

He said the campus will extend over 23 hectares, and revealed that the university has entered into an agreement with a Suzhou-based company for the construction of the facility.

Soochow is one of the major universities in Jiangsu province and has 20 colleges covering 11 disciplines. Soochow has a student population of over 50,000, including over 1,300 international students from 37 different countries.

Starting a school outside China is an important strategy for Soochow University to develop into a world-renowned university.

Initially it is planned to send Chinese lecturers to teach at the campus, but over time the management will increase the intake of local teachers and hire more local staff.

The opening of the Soochow campus in Vientiane will further strengthen the friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and China, Mr Wang said, especially in the field of education.

The Lao Soochow campus offers various majors including Chinese language and literature, engineering and economy and trade, with its student population continuing to grow.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update September 25, 2012) University.htm

6,226 Posts
New Bangkok bus lines to Laos
Published: 1/10/2012 at 06:25 PM Online news:
The state-run Transport Co Ltd will offer direct coach services between Bangkok and Vientiane and Bangkok to Pakse in Laos under a policy to boost transport networks with neighbouring countries.

Each destination will have one service a day using standard airconditioned buses and the one-way fare for both routes is 900 baht. The route from Bangkok to Vientiane will take 11 hours, leaving Bangkok at 8pm while the bus for Pakse leaves at 9pm and will take 13 hours.

Wuthichart Kalayanamit, president of Transport Co, said the two routes are an extension of two other routes while it has another seven routes running between Thailand and Laos such as Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang and Khon Kaen to Vientiane.

There are currently around 20,000 passengers travelling on the existing routes a year but the company expects 200,000 a year using intra-country service if there are more connections with other neighbouring countries. It plans two more routes to Cambodia this year 2012 and one to Myanmar in early 2013.

6,226 Posts
Coca-Cola to Begin Bottling Operations in Laos
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JAKARTA—Coca-Cola Co. KO -0.13% plans to begin bottling its products in Laos by 2014, moving in on Southeast Asia's smallest economy, where rival PepsiCo Inc. PEP -0.14% has deep distribution lines.

While Coca-Cola's beverages have long been available in Laos through third-party distributors, the Atlanta-headquartered beverage giant plans to build its first bottling facility in the country as part of a drive to deepen its presence across Southeast Asia. The move comes amid signs of slowing sales in China, its once-reliable growth engine, and as the company expands elsewhere in Asia.

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Associated Press
Coke is planning bottling and distributions operations in Laos, which has seen high growth over the past decade and was recently admitted into the World Trade Organization.

ThaiNamthip Ltd.—Coca-Cola's bottling partner in Thailand in which it has a stake—said Thursday it will invest $40 million over the next five years with Laos-based PT Construction Co. to establish bottling and distribution operations in the country.

The new joint venture, Lao Coca-Cola Bottling Co., will distribute Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Minute Maid and Namthip drinking water, ThaiNamthip said in a statement. It said it started distributing Coca-Cola products supplied by ThaiNamthip's plants in Thailand on Thursday.

The move comes a month after the World Trade Organization voted to approve Laos's entry into the trade body, and after the nation hosted its largest-ever summit of world leaders in the capital, Vientiane. Laos has been growing at 7% annually over the last decade, largely fueled by growth in the hydropower and mining sectors, and many foreign investors already in the country are expanding.

ThaiNamthip didn't provide further details on the joint venture, but Coca-Cola Pacific's communications director, Sharolyn Choy, said the investment will be spent over five years and the plant will be built in Vientiane province.

"With Laos getting into the WTO and integrating with the regional economy, it just makes sense for us to move in," Ms. Choy said

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations are three years away from forming the Asean Economic Community, a trading bloc with around 10% of the world's population. Asean had a combined GDP of more than $2 trillion in 2011.

Ms. Choy declined to comment on sales targets in Laos, but said Coca-Cola's distribution will increase after the plant starts operations.

The joint venture in Laos follows Coca-Cola's expansion elsewhere in Southeast Asia. In October, Coca-Cola said it planned to invest about $300 million over the next three years in Vietnam. It recently began distributing its products in Myanmar after a hiatus of more than 60 years, and said it is committed to building a bottling plant in Myanmar, but didn't provide a time frame.

Ms. Choy said the plant in Laos will employ about 70 people, but declined to say when construction could begin or comment on production capacity.

The new facility, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2014, positions Coca-Cola to wage a cola war with New York-based PepsiCo, which has been operating in the country in partnership with a Laotian beverage maker and distributor.

ThaiNamthip will own 70% of the Lao Coca-Cola Bottling venture, with its local partner holding the rest.

Coca-Cola has an undisclosed stake in ThaiNamthip, an unlisted Bangkok-based company that was founded in 1959. The company has six bottling plants and distributes products in 63 provinces in Thailand. Coca-Cola's other Thai bottler, Haad Thip, has a single plant and distributes Coca-Cola products in 14 provinces.

Laos-based PT Construction Co. specializes in hydropower and infrastructure development. The company is involved in the construction of the 1,285-megawatt Xayaburi dam, which will be the largest in Laos when completed in 2018.

6,226 Posts
New television station to be launched

The Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism's Department of Mass Media has entered into an agreement with TV Lao to create a new station that will broadcast sport and arts programmes.

The joint agreement was signed in Vientiane yesterday by the Director General of the Mass Media Department, Mr Pinpatthana Phanthamaly, and the President and CEO of TV Lao, Mr Hongkham Souvannavong.

Mr Pinpatthana Phanthamaly ( left ) and Mr Hongkham Souvannavong co-sign the document to create the new television station.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Mr Boualane Silipanya, media and other invited guests.

The television station comprises a five storey building, a single storey building and studios. It is located in Phonphanao village in Xaysettha district, Vientiane, and cost 16 billion kip to build.

TV Lao is privately owned. Under the agreement, the station will be responsible for broadcasting programmes on domestic and overseas cultural activities and sports.

The television station will also provide long-distance learning programmes and disseminate government policies and laws, especially in relation to the national socio-economic development plan.

TV Lao will also produce programmes on politics, news, travel, food, health, music, marketing shows, business discussions, the stock market, IT and automobiles.

The ministry will be responsible for each programme's content.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Hongkham said the aim of the new television station is to produce interesting programmes and disseminate information to audiences. This will be carried out in cooperation with ministries and other involved sectors.

Mr Hongkham said the new station is expected to produce programmes by February 2013 once it has established a satellite link with THAICOM 5 and the station is able to record programmes.

“We are thinking out of the box when it comes to creative and innovative solutions. We will use the best production and broadcasting equipment,” said Mr Hongkham.

He noted that TV Lao is one of the biggest production houses in Laos. It has been broadcasting on LNTV Ch. 3 since 2011 through the THAICOM 5 satellite, and programmes can be viewed in more than 25 countries.

TV Lao employs experienced Lao staff and professional foreign technical advisors. Most of the staff have long-term experience in the industry. Over 30 people are currently employed and the station plans to employ more as needed.

By Phaisythong Chandara
(Latest Update December 20, 2012)

Senior and Head Filipino Mod
19,106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #153 ·
Thailand, Laos agree on mobile signals along border
Negotiations between Thailand and Laos on mobile signals along the border have recently concluded. The two countries agreed that mobile operator signals will not reach further than one kilometre inside populated border areas and no more than two kilometres in other areas, the Bangkok Post reports citing the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). With the move, the countries hope to prevent that users in one country are automatically switched to an operator in the other country with a stronger signal and being charged roaming fees. Thailand has a similar agreement with Malaysia to limit the signal coverage along their border.

Senior and Head Filipino Mod
19,106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #154 ·
Visiting Little Laos on the Prairie: An Interview with Chanida Phaengdara Potter
When you're looking for the online voice of the Lao American community, you don't often see many of us regularly writing, considering there are over 200,000 Lao in the United States.

One exception to that is the blog Little Laos on the Prairie, whose entries often appear here on the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Established by Lao Minnesotans Chanida Phaengdara Potter and Danny Khotsombath, they've been steadily breaking new ground, particularly focusing on the Lao Minnesotan community to help readers see how a vibrant regional voice can emerge. I think that's important because Lao culture flourishes with the diversity of our voices.
Read more

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Satellite project on track to launch in 2015

A senior government official confirmed on Friday that the Lao satellite project is on track for launching in 2015, the year when Laos celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The government and the China-based Chengdu Linhai Electronics Company Ltd. established a joint company – the Lao-Linhai International Satellite Telecommunication Company - in December last year to carry out the project.

“Project officials are in the process of purchasing the satellite,” said a government official, who asked not to be named.

“Officials in charge are also detailing framework activities to carry out the project in the expectation of launching the satellite in 2015 to mark the 40th Lao National Day.”

The Chinese company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lao government early last year to cooperate on the construction of a satellite communications park in Laos.

The investor will spend US$960 million to develop the project with a satellite set to operate for commercial purposes in the 126 degrees East orbital slot, which is owned by Laos.

Laos will hold a 30 percent share in the project with the other 70 percent to be owned by the Chengdu Linhai Electronics Company.

Under the MOU, the Chinese company and the Lao government will jointly build a factory that will manufacture satellite equipment and various electronic communications components. They will also set up the Institute for Science Educational Research and Technology Aerospace to train the highly skilled personnel required for the project.

Minister of Post and Telecommunications Hiem Phommachanh told the Vientiane Times previously that the satellite will provide 36 transponders for TV signals and enable transmission to many countries.

Last year, Linhai Group Chairman Dr Wu Weilin led a delegation to Laos on a working visit when he paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong as part of the group's effort to push forward the satellite development project.

Dr Wu pledged to speed up the satellite development project after getting the green light from the government in early 2012.

Once Laos has its own satellite, it will be easier to further develop its telecommunications industry, since it will not be dependent on subscribing to satellite services from foreign countries like Thailand and China.

Laos has been working towards putting a satellite into orbit at the 126 degrees East location for a long time.

A previous joint venture with a Thai investor to put a satellite into orbit at the same location failed when the Thai party ran into financial difficulties.

Later, the government inked a cooperation agreement with an investor from the United States but that also failed for the same reason, according to Mr Hiem.

The Chengdu Linhai Electronics Company is one of the largest commercial enterprises in China. It provides communications services, short-wave communications, satellite communications, network communications, software radios, GPS navigation equipment, high-speed digital signal processing software, and other advanced communication systems.

The company also offers enterprise solutions, which include designing, implementing, and managing integrated communications networks for businesses and government bodies, and designing and delivering fully-integrated broadband communication solutions.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update April 08, 2013)

3,958 Posts
Creating Vientiane bus lanes will encourage more passengers

More people will choose to ride on public buses in Vientiane if there are designated bus lanes on roads.

Transportation on two or four-lane roads in Vientiane is currently open to all general vehicles. However, Vientiane Public Works and Transport department has plans to create bus lanes to allow public transport to cut through traffic congestion.

Vice Mayor of Vientiane Mr Keophilavanh Arphaylath discussed with transport officials in Vientiane if public transport could operate services more efficiently keeping to bus timetables, especially during rush hours, then many more people would take public buses in preference to cars, decreasing overall traffic.

“We have 129 public buses including 42 new Japanese buses and this is enough to cover the roads in the city,” Director of Vientiane Capital State Bus Enterprise Mr Khamphoun Temerath told Vientiane Times on Friday. The reason public buses don't stick to their timetables is due to the traffic jams, he explained.

“On the route from the Bus Station to the National University of Laos, most buses depart on time but when they return they are late because of traffic congestion along the way,” he said.

The quantity of people using public buses in the urban area has increased about 20 percent in the last year.

Mr Keophilavanh also noted to transport officials that if the roads had assigned bus lanes many people using their own cars would switch to using public buses because it would save them time and money and do less damage to the environment.

The traffic situation in Vientiane is becoming increasingly frustrating for city dwellers, especially in the rush hour when the streets become clogged and accidents are frequent.

The rapid socio-economic growth has led to a surge in the number of vehicles on the roads.

In 2013 there were 1.4 million vehicles registered nationwide, with the annual average increase in vehicle numbers standing at 15 percent.

There are now over 604,600 vehicles in Vientiane alone. This is almost half the total number of vehicles in Laos.

To tackle the rising accident rate and ease traffic congestion, the Lao government is overhauling its policies and spending a huge amount on the construction and improvement of infrastructure, especially in Vientiane.

It may be necessary to construct park and ride facilities in the city to reduce traffic congestion in the future, according to project workers from the Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project.

Nowadays, the problem of traffic congestion in Vientiane is getting worse and worse, and the lack of parking spaces is one of the chief causes of the congestion.

When drivers have nowhere to park they often park their cars encroaching on to the sidewalks or on the roads, and this necessarily slows traffic to a crawl in some parts of the city

The traffic now backs up along many routes in Vientiane and the problem is increasing daily due to poor management, insufficient parking spaces, and the lack of reliable on time public transport. Designated bus lanes would greatly aid buses in keeping to their schedules.

It's possible that people will change their minds and stop using their own vehicles, switching to public and non-motorised transport in the next decade, when more transport options become available.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update March 31 , 2014)
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