border review | 28 July 2011

Ron Gluckman on the remains of Golden Boten City

Ron Gluckman for Forbes Asia Magazine searches for traces in Golden Boten City, the once booming Chinese special zone in northern Laos. Since Chinese authorities took action against the excesses in Boten back in May, the casino and brothel boomtown has turned into a ghost city:

Today new casinos, hotels and multistory gem warehouses with exterior detailing of Greek goddesses all stand completed, but most are vacant. Some 10,000 people a day used to mob Boten. “It was so crowded, you could barely move,” says a Golden City official. Now a few dozen visit each day. “We are shut down until we find new financing,” the official says on a tour of sites for a potential golf course and luxury housing. “We’re waiting for investment to come.” Says Huang Minxuan to FORBES ASIA: “Please be patient. When we finalize our modifications and come up with a new development plan around September or October, we will invite you to come over for an interview.”

Reportedly, a Singapore firm by the name of FBI365 has been hired to help “rebranding” the special zone.