Thursday, May 13, 2010

A success story - Vientiane, Laos

At a bar in Vientiane, on the Mekong riverfront, a South-Korean tourist is telling me a story. "Have you ever seen some Kolao motorbikes or trucks?" The name rings a bell but it's a little blurred in a cloud of Chinese sub-brands and fakes. "About ten years ago a Korean man came here, he racked his brain and sensed an opportunity: he started to import bikes and vehicles from his country. The idea happened to work, he built up some capital, then changed his strategy and opened his own factory." Nowadays Kolao is a small Laotian Honda. That businessman was nobody when he embarked on that trip, now in Korea he is a success story. This sounds like a tale from a different era, of pioneers, gold races or post-war time. And actually that's what Laos was some years ago: out of endless conflicts...a land of conquest.

Photo of a motorbike at the Buddha Park - Vientiane, by Fabio

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