South Korean financial holding company KB Financial Group has obtained official approval from local authorities to operate in Laos, a year after its initial application, as part of its regional expansion strategy.

The company has established KB Kolao Leasing, in partnership with Laos-based Kolao Group, which has interests in a diverse range of businesses including construction, banking, leisure, logistics, media, furniture, agriculture, car manufacturing and second-hand vehicle distribution.

With Hyundai, Kia and Daehan cars in high demand, Kolao has a 50% share of the Lao domestic car market.

KB Kolao Leasing will offer financial services for clients via the Indochina Bank network.

KB Financial group chairman Yoon Jong Kyoo said: “KB Kolao Leasing is a co-operation between the KB Financial Group and Kolao Group, with the latter holding the title of the company with the highest number of car sales in Laos.”

The move follows an announcement earlier this year that another Korean company, DGB Financial Group, had set up in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.