It looks like Laos, China’s tiny landlocked southern neighbour, is about to find out whether sharing a border with China is a good thing. Laos has two things China needs – natural resources such as potash and hydropower, and access to Thailand’s large and growing consumer market.
Perhaps that is why China is so keen to provide a $7.2bn loan to the small communist country for a long-awaited controversial high-speed rail project between the two.
Communist Laos has taken a further step from obscurity into a globalised world with plans for its first ever international bond issue.
The Bt1.5bn ($49.2m) issue will be in Thai baht – as a result of a key change in Thailand’s bond issuance regulations, which says more about Thailand’s ambition to be seen as a regional power than about Laos’s fledging pseudo-capitalist economy.