VIENTIANE, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has named the development of e-commerce as one of its core strategic goals over the next 10 years.
According to the long-term development plan, which has been posted on the ministry's website, Laos will complete the construction of essential Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and draw up legal documents to support e-ecommerce by 2025.
Once the infrastructure and legislation are in place, local and foreign businesses will have more confidence about trading goods and service via the internet. They will also have legal protection for all online transactions, local state-run daily Vientiane Times reported on Friday.
A number of local and foreign businesses in Laos currently advertise their goods and services on the internet. This online market is attracting a large number of customers, thanks to the increase of internet users. There are about 2.5 million internet users, out of its less than 7 million population, registered in Laos.
Despite achieving remarkable progress in the development of the online market, Lao businesses do not feel confident about online transactions.
"The online market in Laos is growing, but I still feel insecure about purchasing goods and making payments online. I don't think Laos has strong ICT security like in other countries," a Vientiane resident said to the daily.
In addition to the development of e-commerce in Laos, the Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has outlined in its strategic plan that it will attempt to lower the cost of internet services.
Internet service fees in Laos are higher than those in most ASEAN member nations. Lao internet providers attribute the high cost of internet services to the purchase of bandwidth from neighboring countries but not from the main internet service providers, said the report.
An analysis suggests that land-locked Laos needs to negotiate with neighboring countries to allow the purchase of bandwidth and internet services from the main providers so that there is access to cheap internet services.