Thursday, 24 July 2014

Japan seeks opportunity in Dawei SEZ

Japanese officials from the ministry of economy, trade and industry met with the committee chairperson of the Dawei Special Economic Zone on July 20 to discuss investing in the project.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone project was to be carried out by the Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) but was halted after the company sought more international backing and financing. 

“The Japanese government intends to invest in the Dawei SEZ project. The meeting was about current situation of the project,” said a high ranking official for the ministry of rail transportation.

Vietnam banks compete for licenses to operate in Myanmar

VietNamNet Bridge – The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) is the only Vietnamese bank of 25 foreign banks that have an opportunity to received one of 10 licenses in Myanmar.

The Central Bank of Myanmar has announced a list of 25 banks for the next round, of the 30 banks that have applied for a business license. These banks will continue to compete for the final 10 licenses. The winners will be announced next month.

"The Licensing Committee will evaluate each profile based on detailed quantitative and qualitative criteria. We will analyze their development plans to choose the appropriate names," Myanmar Times quoted the press release from Myanmar Central Bank.

Myanmar planning nuclear reactor for ‘research’, minister says

Myanmar is planning to build nuclear reactors for research purposes after it develops the expertise required to run one safely, Union Minister for Science and Technology Ko Ko Oo told Parliament yesterday. 

He was responding to a question from Upper House MP Myint Kyi, who asked if there were any plans to build a nuclear power station for research. 

“Some assume that use of nuclear energy is dangerous, but there are advantages if it is correctly used,” Ko Ko Oo said. “We need a nuclear reactor for research use as it is very useful in various fields, such as health, agriculture and livestock breeding. To develop nuclear technology, infrastructure is also necessary to prevent radiation and proliferation of nuclear weapons. We are trying to develop human resources to acquire nuclear technology,” he added. 

TAITRA hosts auto parts show in Myanmar

The second Auto Expo Myanmar hosted by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) kicked off July 18 at Tatmadaw Exhibition Hall in Yangon.

Co-organized by TAITRA and Taiwan’s Chan Chao International Enterprise Group, the four-day international automobile parts and components show features 146 booths by 97 firms from eight countries. These include Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, U.K., U.S., Vietnam and mainland China.

“Our debut in Myanmar last year featured the dual themes of auto parts and electromechanical equipment,” TAITRA Executive Vice President Walter Yeh said. “This year, we are focusing on a single theme and it has paid off, attracting even more visitors to the expo.”

Denmark to assist Myanmar education sector

Denmark will provide a grant aid to Myanmar’s five-year development project with emphasis on the education sector.

“The roadmap to assist Myanmar is under planning, especially in education sector. The five-year development project will kick off by 2016 and Denmark will coordinate with NGOs and CSOs in Myanmar,” said Mikael HemnitiWinther, Denmark ambassador to Myanmar.

Under the assistance programme, activities of NGOs in Myanmar will be reviewed to ensure the aids are progressive.

Myanmar-based DMCs get digital upgrades

THE upgrading of Myanmar's data networks by new telecomms companies in the country are facilitating DMCs' own systems upgrade with many turning to software-based solutions to handle bookings.

A spokesperson from a Yangon-based travel agency who wished to remain anonymous, remarked: “Myanmar’s recent opening resulted in more bookings, and therefore we need a software that can handle this increased workload.”

Such software would allow travel consultants selling packages to perform faster single and cross-country package calculations, as compared to doing them manually.

Kyaukpyu-Kunming railway's cancelled due to public disapproval

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Ministry of Rail Transportation and China for the Kyaukpyu-Kunming railway project has expired, according to the Ministry of Rail Transportation.

Myint Wai, manager of the Ministry of Rail Transportation, said on Friday that China has not made any requests to sign another contract and the project will not be implemented due to objections from the people and social organisations in Myanmar.

According to the MOU signed on April 2011, the Kyaukpyu-Kunming railway project was expected to be implemented within three years, but no work has been carried out for the project up to April 2014. As the MOU has expired, it is not valid anymore, according to him.

Thai banks step up push for licences in Myanmar

ALL FOUR THAI banks in Myanmar are intensifying their efforts to secure banking licences in the belief that opening up of the industry will proceed despite opposition for local players.

Representatives of Kasikornbank (KBank) and Krungthai Bank (KTB) recently joined conferences in Yangon, speaking their minds on what their banks have to offer to the economy, while Bangkok Bank (BBL), Thailand's largest commercial bank, hosted an investment seminar in Yangon designed to be the centre stage for Asian investors wanting to enter the Myanmar market.

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) also brought in Myanmar experts to its "Myanmar 360-degree First Talk" seminar for 500 premium Thai customers with strong interest in expanding into the new market. They are part of the 25 foreign banks shortlisted for the licences, with potentially five to 10 to be awarded by year-end.

State airline to expand flights to Asia

The state-owned Myanma Airways is planning to expand its flights to to South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan by early 2015. 

The airline has hired Avia Solutions, from the U.S.-based General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) as an advisory body. Officials from the airline and company representatives have been holding a weekly conference call to see how to manage the airline’s expansion.

Myanma Airways, the one and only state-owned airline, has been in business since September 1948. The airline recently signed a lease for six Boeing 737-800 jets and four Boeing 737-8 with GECAS last February in Singapore. 

Ooredoo announces distributors for Burma mobile rollout

Ooredoo, one of two international telecoms operating in Burma, announced distributors for its low-cost mobile devices on Friday. The Qatari company pledges to provide affordable devices and SIM cards to the country and has already integrated itself into Burma’s growing tech scene ahead of the product roll-out.

The six companies named as distributors in a press release that went out at the end of last week were: Great Ayerwaddy Telecoms Company Limited, MDG Mobile Company Limited, Capital Connect Limited, Kiwi & I Co. Limited, and MDR Golden Myanmar Sea Co. Limited. These companies are “exclusive, territory specific distributors,” according to the release, and “are currently signing up hundreds of dealers within townships across their territories.”

Foreign telecom companies to introduce SIM cards

Foreign telecom companies, Ooredoo and Telenor are preparing to launch the sale of their new SIM cards in August and September, according to company sources.

Although Ooredoo Myanmar originally said it will begin in August, they may even begin earlier, while Telenor are plying for time and will launch as planned in September. 

“We don’t know when the sale will be. But I am certain that it is nearer,” said Ooredoo Myanmar’s information manager Thiri Kyarnyo.

As of July all Ooredoo staff are already using SIM cards with numbers starting with 0997 which includes internet subscription but they can use only internally.

ASEAN senior economic officials meeting underway in Myanmar

YANGON, July 20 (Xinhua) -- A three-day ASEAN senior economic officials meeting is underway in Yangon to make preparations for an ASEAN economic ministers meeting scheduled for August, meeting sources said Sunday.

The ASEAN Senior Economic Officials Meeting, first hosted by Myanmar and began on Saturday, was participated by delegates from ASEAN countries and dialogue partners and the Deputy Secretary- General of ASEAN.

The Saturday meeting discussed matters related to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) , progress in integration of priority sector and reports which are going to be submitted to the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Council Meeting, AEC Council Meeting and ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) Council Meeting.

MPT to begin selling unlimited SIM cards

The state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) said it will start selling unlimited SIM cards rather than a limited number by lucky draw, according to senior managers.

MPT has signed MoU with KDDI Corporation from Japan to compete with overseas telecommunication companies and provide enhanced mobile services.

“We are planning to change the sale plan of CDMA 800 MHz and GSM SIM cards. When we have finished making arrangements, we will announce the time to start it,” said General Manager Khin Maung Tun from MPT.

India eyes cooperation with Myanmar's energy sector

YANGON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- India is seeking cooperation in the energy sector with Myanmar, state media reported Friday.

A meeting on energy cooperation was held on Thursday in Nay Pyi Taw, with the participation of Myanmar Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry U Win Tun and Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhaya, said the New Light of Myanmar.

Both sides focused on the use of renewable energy and various energy, as well as drawing of energy policy and procedures.

Burma’s Oil Production Tipped to Decline; Fuel Imports to Increase

Burma will become increasingly dependent on imported crude oil and refined fuels over the next ten years because of a lack of planning and investment, an industry report has forecast.

A rise in crude oil imports is highly likely in spite of an expected upsurge in onshore and offshore exploration in coming years, while underinvestment in refining capacity will necessitate more imports of petrol and diesel, said Business Monitor International (BMI) in a study of Burma’s energy resources. BMI is an international business risks analysis company based in London.

“We see production steadily declining for the next 10 years as no major plan to boost condensate [a form of light oil] output from offshore gas fields has been announced or even discussed,” said BMI.

Myanmar to host 36th Asean ministerial meeting

Myanmar will host the 36th Association for Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry in September, officials said Saturday.

The meetings are scheduled to take place from Sept 20 to 26, Xinhua reported..

The topic on sustainable markets and financial investment in the agricultural sector will be discussed during the meetings for the sustainable development of agricultural production among the 10 Asean countries.

At a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw Friday, Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development U Ohn Myint stressed on the importance of discussing methods to ease poverty in villages and improve nutrition of rural people.

Bangkok Bank Pledges to Bring Thai Investors to Burma

RANGOON — Thailand’s Bangkok Bank, one of 25 foreign institutions awaiting permission to operate in Burma, has said it will bring more Thai investors into the country.

One of Thailand’s four largest banks, Bangkok Bank has had a representative office in Rangoon since 1994.

Speaking in Rangoon on Friday, Bangkok Bank Executive Vice President Chaiyarit Anuchitworawong said the bank was among the 25 foreign organizations hoping to be granted a banking license in Burma.

“We still don’t know when they will exactly allow us, but now we’re connecting with the Thai businesses and local people as well,” Chaiyarit said.

Myanmar major private bank to launch online banking services soon

YANGON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- A Myanmar major private bank, the Kanbawza Bank, will launch online and mobile banking services soon and a U.S.-based information security company, RSA, will provide protection to its customers from online fraud and cyber threats, according to the bank on Friday.

RSA is the security division of EMC, which is an American multinational corporation.

With more than 200 branches across the country, the Kanbawza Bank has been granted an authorised dealers license by the Central Bank of Myanmar in 2011 to operate foreign banking business.

The bank started with an initial capital of 477 million Kyats ( nearly 500,000 U.S. dollars) in 1999 and has expanded its capital to 113 billion Kyats (117 million U.S. dollars) in 2014, the bank disclosed.

KBZ Bank picks up another award for excellence

Kanbawza Bank was named Best Bank in Myanmar by the UK-based financial markets magazine Euromoney at a ceremony in Hong Kong on July 17, following two awards a week earlier from a regional banking association.

KBZ chairperson Aung Ko Win and director Nan Lai Kham attended the Awards for Excellence 2014 ceremony to receive the award, along with executives from 52 banks in 36 countries.

Since fiscal year 2011-2012, the bank has paid income tax of more than Ks 50 billion. The bank paid income tax of over Ks 6 billion in FY2011-12, nearly Ks 11 billion in FY2012-13 and more than Ks 17 billion in FY2013-14. It has paid Ks 16 billion in advance tax for FY2014-15 and is expected to pay up to Ks 22 billion for the year. 

Myanmar to Grant Licenses to Foreign Banks

Myanmar is preparing to grant as many as 10 foreign bank licenses next month, a senior government official said, allowing overseas lenders to start doing business in the country after decades of being frozen out.

But to protect domestic banks, recipients of the coveted licenses will be limited to banking for foreign corporations and foreign-exchange services, according to people close to the licensing process.

Foreign banks, they said, will be limited to one branch, won't be permitted to operate a retail-banking business, and will be allowed to lend only in foreign exchange, and not in the local currency, the kyat.
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