A group of Thai and Lao business people have announced a plan to spend 10 billion baht to develop a large shopping and hotel complex in Vientiane in order to cash in on opportunities arising from the coming Asean Economic Community. The massive complex on 200 rai has the support of the Lao government, which wants to draw more foreign investment to the landlocked country, they said. Under the partnership, Sayam International Co led by Thai chairman Sayam Ramasoot will hold a 49% stake in BM Group, the project developer, with 51% held by a group of Lao businessmen headed by Phisith Banyadith, a member ofof the family that owns Dao-Heuang Group, the leading coffee and duty-free conglomerate in Laos. BM Group was awarded the licence by the Lao government to build and operate the Lao Duty Free Mall on20 rai of land, which requires 3.5 billion baht of investment for the first phase. The mall is slated to have 37,000 square metres hosting 200 popular brands.