Thai cinema chain Major Cineplex plans to have 30 screens in Laos within three years.
Major Cineplex has entered the Laos market in a 60:40 joint venture with local partner Platinum Cineplex.
With a population of 7 million, a growing economy and young population, the Thai company believes it offers strong opportunity to expand its business outside Thailand.
“Laos is a growing area for the movie business with its young population,” Major Cineplex chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck said in an interview with The Nation this week.
“The country is [also] attracting foreign investors, particularly from China, to erect a number of new projects including shopping malls, hotels and business centres.”
Major Cineplex typically operates its multiplex cinemas as anchors of modern shopping malls. It has just opened its first five screen, 1148 seat facility in Vientiane Center an upmarket shopping centre developed in a partnership including China’s Huawei
Vicha said his company expects to sell at least 500,000 tickets within the first year of operation.
“Forty per cent of Vientiane’s 700,000 residents are aged between 10 to 35 years,” he added.
Major Cineplex will open three more cinemas in Vientiane by 2018, one in the planned World Trade Centre and another in a development planned by Thai investors.
Vicha says his company is also eyeing opportunities in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. It currently operates just one cinema outside Thailand – in the year old Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh, also in partnership with Platinum.
He told The Nation he expects to have 100 screens outside Thailand by 2020, creating 10 per cent of the company’s revenue.