Singapore company builds network in Lao service sector

The Mekong Group is a Singapore-based company which has a particular focus on Laos due to the stable political conditions, low crime rate, pro-business government policy and low cost of living. Mr Michael Aw, CEO of the Mekong Group Pte Ltd, said Laos is sometimes overshadowed by bigger economies like Myanmar and Cambodia whenever one explores the Indochina market.

“Plus it has more stable political conditions, lower crime rates, a pro-business government policy and lower cost of living, making it a heaven for investors and expatriates working here,” Mr Aw said recently at a partnership agreement signing ceremony with a local insurance company in Vientiane.

“Nikon camera manufacturers and Polycom conference equipment makers have taken advantage of this and set up their factories here.”

“Today, we ventured into another opportunity, the insurance sector.”

The company has been doing business in the Mekong region for the past 20 years. “Eventually we will expand to serve the neighbouring countries along the Mekong River,” Mr Aw said. The Mekong Group specialises in providing various business services to Lao companies and state owned enterprises.

“We will connect consultants, investors, and joint venture partners to Laos and bring opportunities from Laos to Singapore,” he said.

A 2014 report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment noted that Singapore is a major investor in Laos with total Singaporean investments reaching more than US$187.76 million.

That year it ranked 11th, followed by India with about US$163.77 million and the United States on around US$151.8 million.

The highest value in terms of foreign investment in 2014 was China with US$5.29 billion, followed by Thailand in second with US$4.45 billion and Vietnam in third with US$3.39 billion.

A 2013-14 fiscal report from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce noted that Laos had an export value to Singapore of more than 19.62 billion kip (US$2.44 million), while import values from Singapore were valued at over 66.11 billion kip (US$8.23 million).

Repost from Vientiane Times, Tuesday March 15 2016, Issue 63