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Vientiane Center shopping mall to open in mid-2014

A new high-profile shopping centre set to open in Vientiane late this year will distinguish itself with a marketing strategy that targets brand-name shoppers.

Despite the fact that there are many shopping centres in the capital, North Nongchan Complex Development Co. Ltd believes the city is still missing a shopping centre focusing on high-end products.

The company’s vice-general manager of marketing, Ms Luo Yanping, said Laos was a good place to launch the high-end product marketing strategy given many Lao shoppers currently cross borders to buy those products abroad.

“We will place focus on selling brand-name products. We will not be selling copy products,” she told local media through an interpreter on Thursday.

The four-storey shopping complex is part of the Vientiane Centre project, which is being developed on 5.3 hectares at the Nongchan marsh in Xaysettha district, Vientiane.

The three-phase project is being jointly developed by the Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd and the Krittaphong Group Co. Ltd with a concession period of 50 years and the option to extend for a further 20 years.

The shopping centre and the nine-storey office block for rent, which are being developed under the project’s first phase at a cost of US$70 million, will have a pilot opening in July followed by an official opening in October.

Ms Yanping said only 30 percent of the department store would be sold out, with the remaining 70 percent continuing to be managed by the developer so the marketing strategy can be fully realised.

She said many brand-name products that cannot currently be found at all in Vientiane would be made available at the new centre.

Sellers of brand-name products from China, Indonesia, France and Thailand have already booked shops at the mall to display and sell their products, with up to 69 percent of shops available for rent already taken.

Among the brands to be sold in the new shops are Guy Laroche, Arrow, BSC Cosmetology, Wacoal, Louis Fontaine, Lee, Wrangler, Casio, Guess Watch, Jockey and John Henry.

“At least 70 percent [of the products] will be brand-name products imported from foreign countries,” Ms Yanping said.

The company’s high-end marketing strategy came after data showed that more than 700,000 Vientiane residents crossed the Lao-Thai border during the first six months of 2013 to shop in neighbouring Thailand.

Many others fly to Singapore and even France to shop for brand-name goods.

“We don’t only target Lao customers, but also foreigners and foreign tourists in Laos,” she said.

The shopping mall will feature a boutique supermarket and world famous brands of cosmetics, watches, fashion clothes, jewellery, restaurants, cinemas, electronics and home appliances, furniture and so on.

The second phase of the project will involve the construction of hotels, clubs and lakefront businesses, which is expected to be finished in 2015. The third will see residential apartments constructed by 2016.

The last two phases will be developed at the cost of about US$50 million, bringing the total investment in the Vientiane Centre to US$120 million.

An underground carpark for the shopping centre will also be built, capable of accommodating more than 340 vehicles. Similar parking areas will come with the other two phases as well.
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