To match Feature LAOS-INVESTMENT/

 
To match Feature LAOS-INVESTMENT/
A woman sweeps the floor at the Laos Security Exchange building in Vientiane November 7, 2011. Little has changed in Laos' one-party political system and its rulers are trying to emulate the market-based authoritarianism of China and Vietnam with pro-business reforms, with some success. The once fragile economy has grown an average 7.9 percent a year since 2006. Laos's $7.5 billion economy is dwarfed by its neighbours -- 790 times smaller than China's, a 14th of the size of Vietnam's, and roughly two percent of Thailand -- but it has more than doubled since 2006, as has GDP per capita, which jumped from $600 to $1,200, according to World Bank data. But it's still off the radar to Western companies concerned about regulation, labour capacity, a lack of transparency and Laos's very cosy political and business ties to its neighbours. Picture taken November 7, 2011. To match Feature LAOS-INVESTMENT/ REUTERS/Martin Petty (LAOS - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)