China and Laos have been cooperating to build the Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone (hereinafter referred to as SDZ), which is the new urban district of Vientiane, the Capital of Laos, into a low-carbon demonstration model for Laos and Southeast Asian countries at large.
The implementation of the project will strengthen the consensus between China and Laos in dealing with climate change and support the regional collaboration between China and Indo-China Peninsula countries in dealing with climate change. Meanwhile, this project will play a strong leading and exemplary role in and become a benchmark project for practicing sustainable development under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Overview of the SDZ
Covering an area of 11.5 square kilometers, the development zone is located 14 km away from the northeastern part of the downtown Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It is in the core area of New City of Vientiane. As a National Special Economic Zone of Laos and a National Overseas Economic & Trade Cooperation Zones of China, SDZ is invested, developed, and operated by Lao-China Joint Venture Investment Co., Ltd (LCJV). This company is co-founded by Yunnan Provincial Overseas Investment Co., Ltd., and the Vientiane municipal government.
Picture 1: Location of the SDZ
The function orientation of this development zone is “one city and four areas”. Specifically, “one city” represents the Vientiane New Industrial Eco-city, and “four areas” stands for the International Capacity Cooperation Area, the Demonstration Area of China-Laos Cooperation, the Core Area of Vientiane New City and the Harmonious Residential Area.
Picture2: Aerial View of the SDZ
Industries and Development Schedule
The development zone is dominated by the manufacturing industry and supported by real estate development and the comprehensive service industry. It tries to create an industrial system of "One body, Two wings." Guided by the “Industrial Development Zone + New City of Vientiane” model, the development zone is constructed through three phases. Phase I covers an area of about 4km2 and mainly focuses on the development of industries. Phase Ⅱ and Phase Ⅲ mainly focus on the development of trade, tourism, residence, and the construction of the new Vientiane sub-center.
As of April 2021, the development zone has completed infrastructure construction of the industrial park and started the construction of Vientiane New City. At present, it has attracted 92 enterprises from China, Japan, Singapore and other countries and regions, with a total investment of more than 1.3 billion US dollars. The main industries of the SDZ include Energy and Chemical Industry, Electronic Manufacturing, Biomedicine, Agro-products Processing, etc.
Low-Carbon Park, Garden New City
Picture 3: Entrance of the SDZ
Picture 4: Comprehensive Service Supportin Facilities
On July 16, 2020, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the construction of the low-carbon demonstration zone.
According to Liu Hu, head of the YCIH in Laos and chairman of the LCJV, SDZ is one of the ten low-carbon demonstration zones developed by China in developing countries. The construction of the demonstration area is guided by the low-carbon development plan and characterized by low-carbon transportation, which will drive the transformation of low-carbon production mode and lifestyle. In addition, the use of low-carbon materials helps to reduce energy use and pollutant emissions. The introduction of low-carbon environmental protection concepts and the cultivation of a new, green, and modern way of working and living can effectively promote the implementation of green environmental protection development concepts in the SDZ.
The construction of the low-carbon demonstration zone adhering to the concept of sustainable development has been warmly welcomed by the Lao people. "I am very proud to participate in it," Thongkhoun Loungleuangchanh, a Laos staff member working for the LCJV, said. "The construction of a low-carbon demonstration zone in Laos is a brand-new concept, and we are making it a reality."
Kenton, a nearby villager, said: "The crops near the park grow well, the cattle and sheep are well raised, and the production in the park is very environmentally friendly and integrated with the surrounding environment. The development zone has also promoted the development of surrounding areas and increased our income. We are all looking forward to the early completion of this Garden New City."
1. People's Daily（May/20/2021, 03 Edition）“Looking forward to the completion of the New Garden Town”
2. Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone Official Website http://www.lvsdz.com/list/zllhtzpc/7/481/auto/20/0.html
3. Xinhua Net http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-04/26/c_139907400.htm
(This article is compiled from multiple sources and translated by the editor)
Translated by Yuxi Zhang