Geographic location: Lai Chau is bounded by China to the North, by Dien Bien to the West and the South-West, by Lao Cai to the East and by Yen Bai to the South-East and by Son La to the South
Area : 9059.4 km ²
Topographic features: Lai Chau has a complex topography which are high and steep; more than 50% of the area are 1,000m high and more, nearly 90% of the area are over 250 steepy with many deep, narrow (V shaped) valleys.
Administrative units: The province is divided into 1 town (Lai Chau) and 5 districts: Tam Duong, Sin Ho, Than Uyen, Phong Tho and Muong Te.
Population: 370,135 people
Natural resources: Feralit and alluvia are major kinds of soils found in Lai Chau. In general, the soils here are good for developing forestry, long-time industrial crops and cattle breeding. Besides, Lai Chau has many important minerals such as copper, lead, gold, coal in Na Sang, rare earth in Phong Tho district and Kaolin in Huoi Pha, etc.
Tourism resources: Lai Chau has a great potentiality for developing natural tourism with various types and services such as eco-tourism, convalesces in Muong Te primeval forest in the riverhead of Da river, natural caves such as Tien Son Binh Lu cave in Tam Duong district, Vang Bo hot water stream in Phong Tho district, etc.
Human resources: On December 31, 2005, the population of Lai Chau was 322,665 in which the number of people of working age was 164,200 (accounting for 50.8%, the number of trained employees was approx. 34,033 (accounting for 22.8%).
Transportation system: Transportation is Lai Chau is rather challenging due to its difficult topography. Roadway is the major means in the province. There are 5 national highways running through the province (National highways No. 12, 32, 4D, 279, 100 with the total length of 319km). National highway no. 12 connects Dien Bien Phu city with China (through Ma Lu Thang border gate). National 4D connects with Sa Pa town of Lao Cai province.
Power supply system: There are 2 sources of power supply: one is the national one with 2 110/35/22Kv-16MVA stations in Lai Chau town and Than Uyen District, the other is power supply from 110/35Kv from Lao Cai province.
Sectors’ development plan:
+ Agriculture-Forestry-Fishery : Centralized goods production centers will be established. They are planned to reach the value of 30-50 million VND/hectare/year. The places for this plan will be Mong So, Binh Lu, Muong Than. Soil will be improved, intensive farming will be developed. Tea and cardamon which are key products for export of the province will be developed. Socialization in afforestation, changing from traditional afforestation to community based one with attention paid to development of forest trees used for processing industry. Farmhouses will be encouraged where households self –control their business with support from enterprises and cooperatives.
+ Industry: This can be developed to be a key sector of the province if it is well exploited. The approval on a plan for the construction of hydroelectricity plants, especially the small and medium scaled ones should be obtained soon. Attention should also be given to agriculture-forestry-fishery product processing. Construction material production should not be developed sparsely for better exploitation and management. Local traditional professions such as rattan, bamboo handicrafts, brocade, food and foodstuff, etc. should also be developed.”