Laos issues new regulation on operating shopping malls hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source:
Foreigners are prohibited from operating trading outlets or shops worth less than 8 billion kip (964,500 USD), according to a new regulation recently issued by the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Under the ruling, small-scale businesses are reserved solely for Lao nationals.

However, foreigners may hold a 100 percent share in a shopping centre or shopping mall whose investment value is 160 billion kip or more.

Those who are not Lao nationals are permitted to hold up to 70 percent ownership in a shopping centre or shopping mall whose investment value is less than 160 billion kip but not less than 80 billion kip,

Foreigners may also hold a share of not more than 51 percent in a shopping mall or shopping centre with its investment of less than 80 billion kip but not less than 8 billion kip.

The regulation also stipulates the area of land on which developers can build shopping centres and malls in a bid to ensure that sufficient parking space is provided.

Developers of shopping centres are required to secure a site of at least 50,001 sq.m for essential services, while those of hypermarkets must reserve a space measuring 20,001 to 50,000 sq.m.

They are required to begin construction within two years after being granted a licence by the government.

The new ruling also prohibits the original concession holders from selling the concession to another developer without approval from the relevant government agencies.

The decision applies to all shopping centres and department stores regardless of the source of investment - whether from Lao or foreign individuals, any legal entity or organisation.-VNA