A special economic zone (SEZ) in southern Laos that is being driven by foreign investment is becoming the new symbol of Southeast Asia’s industrial development. The Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone in Savannakhet has drawn nearly 60 companies, including Toyota Boshoku, a supplier to the Japanese carmaker, and Aderans, one of the largest wig makers in Japan. The zone’s location and the Lao government’s generous tax incentives are attracting manufacturers to build production facilities there. The Savan-Seno SEZ also offers opportunities to build plants in neighboring Thailand. The SEZ is rapidly drawing interest from Japan, with eight Japanese companies already setting up manufacturing operations there. In early February, Toyota Boshoku officially opened its $5.6 million plant in the zone, although it has been making car seat covers there since last year. At the opening, Hiroyuki Kishino, Japan’s ambassador to Laos, said the plant represented “a landmark” in the history of Japanese business investment in the country.