It briefly gained freedom in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949.
Still, entrepreneurs in China have opened impressive replicas of Apple stores, Nike outlets and even an unauthorized Goldman Sachs bank branch — though quite a few phony shops have closed down under legal threats.
In Myanmar, where US sanctions held globalization’s tentacles at bay for decades, copycat shops were able to crop up with near impunity.
It’s called “Disney Laos” and, even by Asia’s standards, this is an exceedingly brash knockoff.
Construction will begin soon in Laos, a poor, communist nation better known for rice paddies and land mines than kid-friendly getaways.
“If it’s called ‘Disney Laos,’ then that should be permitted. That would be copyright infringement,” says Somjith Aliyaphaphone, a Lao investor in the theme park. But, yes, we’re worried about lawsuits.” There is reason to worry.