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Laos pins economic hopes on extra electricity

An electric trike developed by Japan's Prozza carries a passenger in Luang Prabang, in northern Laos.

BANGKOK -- As Southeast Asia's energy demands grow, Laos is banking on increased electricity exports to shore up its economy. The tiny country, which has a population of just under 7 million, has been opening a string of large-scale hydropower stations that will boost its total generation capacity by an estimated 70% by the end of the year compared to 2014.

     Laos plans to sell 80% of the power it generates to neighboring countries in a bid to achieve 7.5% growth in gross domestic product. Efforts are also under way to use the country's large supply of cheap electricity to nurture new industries.

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