Laos

Ryan 1st Period

Introduction

Laos is a poor country in South East Asia. It is surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, and China. Laos is a tree shaped country. The capital is called Vientiane. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a 6-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned with Vietnam. There was a gradual and limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.

Slogan-Laos "Come enjoy and experience the nature."

Geography/Climate of Laos

Laos is a landlocked nation in Southeast Asia that occupies the northwest portion of the Indochinese peninsula. Laos is surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma. It is twice the size of Pennsylvania. Laos is a mountainous country, especially in the north, where peaks rise above 9,000 feet (2,800 meters). Dense forests cover the northern and eastern areas. The Mekong River, which forms the boundary with Burma and Thailand, flows through the country for 932 miles (1,500 kilometers) of it's course.

People and Culture

The small country of Laos has at least 49 ethnic groups and each of them preserves their own dialect, customs, culture, and tradition. However, because over half of the popuation are ethnic Lao (previously called Lao Loum) this is obviously the most dominate group in Laos and the one that most people encounter as the Laos culture. The rich culture of Laos is rooted in immense spirituality, as the predominent religion of Theravada Buddhism has influences extending from lifestyle to art and architecture. This is encountered in ceremonies like the baci or Sou Khoun (a ceremony to enrich the spirit) and the common practice of alms giving every morning at sunrise.


Most villages have at least one temple. These temples are not only for monks to eat and pray, they are also the main centre for social and recreational activities such as village meetings, religious ceremonies and festivals. In urban areas, temples sometimes serve as shelters for homeless and disadvantaged people. Sometimes when someone dies in an accident or outside their houses the body will be taken to the temple and kept there for a few days for religious ceremonies before it is cremated.


One of Laos' festivals is called Tet (Laos' New Year). Lao’s New Year is traditional Bunpimai or Water Festival that takes place from April 13th to 16th every year. People splash water to pray for luck and peace for the whole year. Water is used for washing homes, Buddha statues, monks, and soaking friends and passer-byes. People first pour water on their elders, then monks for blessing of a long life and peace, and last of all they throw water on each other. During these days, people also build sand towers, set animals free such as tortoises, fish, crabs, birds, eels, and other small animals, eat traditional Lap dish, and pick flowers. With the Laotians, the customs of the Bunpimai festival means bringing the prosperity and happy life, a chance to protect and promote traditional arts. One of the other activities they do is the beauty pageant in Luang Prabang to crown Miss Pbeemai Lao (Miss Lao New Year). There are many beauty pageants in Laos, but Luang Prabang - the old capital - is widely known for its Nangsoukhane pageant. There are seven contestants, each one symbolizing one of King Kabinlaphom's seven daughters.

Top 10 Historical Events

1. 1954-Laos gains full independence from France. Civil war starts between royalists and communists.

2. 1975-Communists take control of the government. Socialist transformation of the economy is launched.

3. 1979-Government changed approach due to food shortages and hundreds of thousands of people flee to Thailand. Agricultural private enterprise was permitted.

4. 1989-First elections held since 1975. Communists retained power. Laos open to foreign tourism for the first time since 1975.

5. 1992-U.S. restored diplomatic ties with Laos.

6. 1994-Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River linked Thailand and Laos. Laos and Vietnam signed bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

7. 2000-Government began decentralizing with more autonomy and budgetary responsibilities given to provinces.

8. 2001-International Monetary Fund approved $40 million loan to strengthen economy and reduce poverty.

9. 2005-U.S. establishes Normal Trade Relations with Laos that ends long period of import taxes.

10. 2011-Laos opens its first stock exchange.

Government and Citizenship

Laos is one of the few remaining communists countries. Its government has only recently allowed tourism. About 80% of Laos's 5.4 million people live in rural areas. The country lacks railroads and has electricity in only a few cities. Vientiane is the largest city and capital. The communist government discourages religion, but most Laotians remain Buddhists. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong is the Prime Minister of Laos.
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Laos Leader

Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Laos

Economy

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Laos has struggled to find its position within a changing political and economic landscape. Despite tentative reforms, it remains poor and dependent on international donations. About 80% of Laos's 5.4 million people live in rural areas. Farmers grow rice, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and corn along the Mekong River's fertile banks. Industry is largely undeveloped because of isolation and years of civil war. Its main trading partners are Thailand (69.4%), China (9.4%), and Vietnam (5.6%). In 2007 Laos imported vehicles, consumer goods, machinery, and fuel to the worth of $1.378 billion.

Company List

Peabody Coal company

Peabody Coal Company is one of the global leaders in coal mining. Peabody Coal Company would have a profitable investment opportunity in Laos because there is an abundance coal in Laos. While mining has been stopped temporarily until December 2015 now is the time to start to get ready to set up in Laos. Peabody coal company would benefit from their own supply of coal in Laos. Laos would benefit because the coal mining would help the economy grow.

Walmart

Walmart would be provided with an opportunity to expand its business into an area that is close to another one of its current locations in China. Walmart can benefit because Laos can provide a large supply of potential employees and land for store locations. And because of the use of local products costs would stay low, Walmart can also benefit from its name recognition. Laos can also benefit from Walmart because it would provide jobs and income for local people.

Best Western

Since Best Westerns Hotel's has a location in Vietiane now, I would suggest that expanding to Luang Prabang would be a profitable opportunity. Luang Prabang has several luxury resorts. Laos would benefit from a Best Western Hotel because it would provide a less expensive hotel for tourists. Hotel rates can be higher than normal but still less than the luxury hotels. Best Western would benefit because it would attract more tourists since its costs are lower than the luxury hotels.

McDonalds

I believe that McDonalds restaurants would attract more tourists to Laos since the name is well known so they would make more profit. McDonalds would benefit from the inexpensive labor Laos would provide. Also more tourism means more profit for them. Laos benefits from more tourism from people coming to McDonalds which means that other businesses in Laos would benefit which may help Laos's economy.

Petsmart

Petsmart is a pet care store. They should come to Laos because the people of Laos own many pets. Petsmart would benefit from the sales of pet supplies needed to care for pets. This would mean a large profit. Laos would benefit because the veterinary care of the small pets would reduce disease and illness. In Laos people would have a convenient place to buy pet supplies such as food and medicines.