Monday, 29 July 2013

Myanmar to profit from controversial Chinese-backed mine

Myanmar has signed a revised contract that increases its share of the profits from a controversial Chinese-backed copper mine, the country’s largest, officials said.

The revision is seen as an attempt by the government to appease public anger over the project by giving the country a bigger share of the profits, after protests last year that triggered a violent police crackdown.

The new terms give the government 51 per cent of the profits from the Letpadaung copper mine in Monywa, 760 km (472 miles) north of Yangon, far more than its original 4 per cent share.

With Myanmar Economy On The Rise, Indian Companies Want To Wrest Business Away From Dominant Chinese Rivals

Myanmar, formerly one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia but now termed the region’s “next economic frontier” by the International Monetary Fund, is also the newest battleground for Indian companies seeking to wrest business away from Chinese firms, which remain the biggest investor in Myanmar, even as western companies rush to the country.

Export-Import Bank of India (Exim), the state-controlled trade financing institution, has agreed to invest $800 million in Myanmar, part of which will be used to upgrade the Yangon-Mandalay railway and a plant for Tata Motors Limited (NYSE:TTM) to assemble vehicles in the country, said David Rasquinha, the executive director of the bank, according to Bloomberg.

Myanmar's Largest Investor, China, May See Its Investment Share Dwindle As Western Companies Move In

Chinese firms, which for decades were the largest and the only foreign investors in a closed-off Myanmar, are now becoming increasingly unpopular for allegedly unfair contracts, environmental damages and China’s ties with the former military regime.

As a result, China could see its share of total investment in Myanmar diminish as the nation sees foreign investment from developed countries, following the lifting of Western trade sanctions and the opening of the economy under the new democratic government.

Myanmar unveils 75-year plan on development of SEZ

Myanmar has worked out a 75-year plan to develop its Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) seeking strategic partnership with in addition to Thailand and inviting international tenders and developers for the project.

The plan, in five phases, will be implemented on land covering 44,850 acres, according to U Aye Myint, chairman of the Central Working Committee for Implementation of the Dawei SEZ, reports Xinhua.

Myanmar's president wants ex-governor back to head central bank

(Reuters) - President Thein Sein has proposed that a former head of the central bank of Myanmar be brought back as governor as part of reforms that will make it independent from the Ministry of Finance, a source at the president's office said on Monday.
"In his message sent to the Union Parliament, the president last week proposed appointing Kyaw Kyaw Maung, retired central bank governor, as the governor," the senior official said, asking not to be identified.

Myanmar-China gas pipeline starts to deliver gas to China

MANDALAY, Myanmar - A Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline (Myanmar section), co-invested by six parties from four countries including China, Myanmar, South Korea and India, was inaugurated in northern Myanmar's Mandalay on Sunday and started to deliver gas to China.

At about 4:12 pm (local time), Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun, Energy Ministers U Than Htay and U Zeya Aung, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Yang Houlan and a South Korean representative jointly started up the commissioning button.

Myanmar signs MoU with foreign company on building cycle power plant

YANGON, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The Myanmar electric power authorities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two foreign companies, GMS Power Publish Co.,Ltd and Global Power Synergy Co.,Ltd of Thailand.
The MoU aims at conducting feasibility study for establishment of combined cycle power plant project in Ayeyawady and Yangon Regions,official media reported Saturday.

Petter Furberg to head Telenor Myanmar

(Fornebu/Norway, Yangon/Myanmar - July 12, 2013) Telenor Group has appointed Petter Furberg as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Telenor Myanmar, effective from when the company receives formal approval from the relevant Myanmar authorities. Mr. Furberg comes from the position as Chief Financial Officer of Thailand's second-largest mobile operator, dtac, of which Telenor is a majority shareholder. He will be responsible for the rapid roll out of modern telecommunications network and services to the benefit of the entire Myanmar population.

Myanmar's cabinet undergoes strategic reshuffle

The latest cabinet reshuffle was about putting “the right people in the right place”, improving policy implementation and supporting U Thein Sein’s clean government push, officials say.
Four ministers were rotated while six new deputy ministers were appointed, the government announced through state-run television on the evening of July 25.

New Light of Myanmar (26 July 2013 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (26 July 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (26 July 2013 - Friday)

New Light of Myanmar (25 July 2013 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (25 July 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (25 July 2013 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (24 July 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (24 July 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (24 July 2013 - Wednesday)

Trade with Myanmar Key Part of US Pivot to Asia

Is there a pivotal link between the United States’ concerns over China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and inroads into the Indian Ocean and bids from the US to expand Yangon’s airport and improve the roads between Myanmar’s main commercial city and Mandalay?

The rapid rapport developing between Washington and Naypyitaw coincides with US efforts to reassert influence in the Asia-Pacific region as China’s belligerent territorial claims on most of the South China Sea create angst for old US allies such as the Philippines.

Myanmar shows the highest relative growth in Southeast Asia

Myanmar has the highest relative growth in Southeast Asia, according to the latest tourism statistics from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Statistics from the UNWTO shows that Southeast Asia showed the highest growth among Asian subregions, with nine per cent more arrivals in 2012.

Myanmar makes “ineffective” cabinet reshuffle

The President’s Office of Myanmar announced another major reshuffle of its government cabinet on Thursday, but observers say the reshuffle may be not enough to tackle vast corruption among some government ministries.
Myanmar’s second cabinet reshuffle since President Thein Sein took office in March 2011 saw four ministers reassigned, ten deputy ministers reshuffled or appointed, and two deputy ministers dropped.

Heineken beer to be produced in Myanmar by 2014

Heineken beer-maker APB Alliance Brewery Company said its first beer factory in Myanmar will be able to start operation by the end of next year.

Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration approved establishment of APB Alliance Brewery on July 25.

It is a joint venture between Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (APB) and its local partner Alliance Brewery Co Ltd (ABC).

Hydropower, mining, oil and gas sectors cover 85 per cent of total investment

Investment sectors in hydropower, mining, oil and gas covered 85 per cent of total investment in Myanmar, said Aung Naing Oo, Director General of Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration in a conference held at Myanmar Investment Commission Office in July 25.

Telenor aims for strong presence in Myanmar telecom market

Norway's Telenor group is counting on the competence of its executives, outsourcing, and planned local and global partnerships to establish a strong presence in Myanmar's telecom market.

One of its experienced executives is Petter Furberg, who was recently appointed chief executive officer of Telenor Myanmar, effective from when the company receives formal approval from that country's authorities. Furberg currently serves as chief financial officer of Thailand's Total Access Communication (DTAC), of which the Norwegian telecom group is a majority shareholder.

New Light of Myanmar (23 July 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (23 July 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (23 July 2013 - Tuesday)

French Trade Minister and her team to visit Myanmar

A delegation led by French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq will pay a visit to Myanmar in the coming future.

She will lead a small and medium sized business delegation to Myanmar in order to boost trade ties with the country.

Upgrading work for low capacity natural gas power plants

Upgrading works for low capacity natural gas power plants are to be integrated by foreign and local investments, according to Minister Aung Than Oo of the Ministry of Electric Power.

“There are many visits made by foreign and domestic companies who are interested in doing upgrading works for low capacity power plants currently running in Myanmar,” the Minister said.

Marubeni eyes further investment in Myanmar

Marubeni Corporation, one of the largest general trading company from Japan, is eying to make investment in generating electricity, upgrading railroad tracks, selling machinery and investing in Thilawa Special Economic Zone, according to the announcement of the corporation.

Mr. Akihito Asayama, General Manager of the corporation, had a discussion about the investment with officials from Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration in Nay Pyi Taw on July 23.

Myanmar earns US$150m from marine export

Myanmar has earned over US$150 million from exporting marine products during the first quarter of the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to a report from the fisheries department.

This is a bit short of the target amount of around 175 million for the first quarter. The country aimed $700 million earning from marine export during this fiscal year.

Nissan showroom, services and spare parts sales centre to open on July 31

Nissan showroom, services and spare parts sales centre will be officially opened on July 31, according to Malaysia-based Tan Chong Group that oversees the Japanese auto company.

The centre will sell brand new cars and the service centre made a business opening ceremony on February 2.

E.SUN Bank’s opens representative office in Myanmar

Taiwan based E.SUN Bank opened its representative office in Yangon on July 17.

The E.SUN Bank's immediate aim is to provide financial advice to Taiwanese traders operating in Myanmar, as well as monitor the economic and financial situation in the country.

Three companies chosen to operate transport services

Myanmar’s Ministry of Rail Transportation and road transport department have selected one foreign company and two local companies to operate transport services as a joint venture, according to the announcement of road transport department released on July 15.

The chosen companies are South Korea-based Busan Express Bus Terminal Company Limited and two local companies; Forever Green Right Services Company (FGRS) and Moe Thaut Hnin Company.

The three companies will carry out construction of terminal buses, vehicles maintenance and passengers’ transportation.

The road transport department offered tender to local and foreign companies who want to co-operate the services as a joint venture with the department on April 23rd and 25th of this year and carried out the work procedures starting from June 18.

The submitted companies are Japanese based company Ryobi, South Korea based Busan, CJ GLS and local companies; FGRS, San Yaung Ni, Moe Thaut Hnin, Myint Family and YCTT Solution.

Among them, the department has already chosen a foreign company and two local companies.

The securitizing is a first phase and the remaining companies will be securitized based on their transport services.

source: Eleven Myanmar

Hong Kong and China to invest in Myanmar’s garment industry

Hong Kong and China will operate garment enterprises under Cutting, Making and Packing –CMP system at industrial zones in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration-DICA.

MPT to sell over 100,000 GSM and CDMA 800 MHz SIM cards in Yangon

Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) is planning to sell K 1,500 GSM and CDMA 800 MHz mobile phone SIM cards on July 25.

Myanmar imports 32,000 motorbikes from China in June

Myanmar has imported 32,047 motorbikes from China in the month of June this year through the Muse border trading center in the northeastern country, according to an official there.

Also imported were other motor vehicles and industrial machineries which only amounted to 683. The official said the country has spent US$26 million overall for those imports during the month.

Wanbao and Ministry of Mines to finalise new Letpadaungtaung deal

Myanmar’s Ministry of Mines and the Chinese Wanbao Company operating the controversial Letpadaungtaung copper mine project are planning to finalise signing a new contract on July 24, according to the reports of Ministry of Mines.

The Ministry of Mines will submit a newly amended contract to parliament and hold a press conference. 

Myanmar to conduct a ground survey test for a refinery in Kalargote

A joint venture of a Chinese company and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) is taking ground survey to construct a five million tons oil refinery in Kalargote deep seaport project, according to Naing Lawi Aung, Minister for Electric Power and Industry of Mon State.

If the refinery is finished, Myanmar will import crude oil from Middle East to refine like Shwe natural gas project, the minister said.

New light of Myanmar (22 July 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (22 July 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (22 July 2013 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (21 July 2013 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (21 July 2013 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (21 July 2013 - Sunday)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Myanmar's Weakening Kyat (MMK) And Worsening Trade Deficit Are Necessary For The Country's Growth

The opening of Myanmar’s economy along with its floating currency and growing demand for imports has led to a worsening trade deficit and significant weakening of the Myanmar kyat (MMK) against the dollar. Investors have no reason to worry, however, as these are necessary growing pains for the rapidly emerging economy, according to the analysts at Standard Chartered Bank.

Myanmar vows to strengthen ties with China

Myanmar President U Thein Sein has assured that his country will continue to pursue a friendly policy towards and advance ties between the two countries.

Talking to visiting Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's central military commission, in the capital, the president said Myanmar would continue to pursue a friendly policy toward Beijing and make unremitting efforts to push forward the Myanmar-China comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership, Xinhua reported.

New Light of Myanmar (20 July 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (20 July 2013 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (20 July 2013 - Saturday)

New Light of Myanmar (19 July 2013 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (19 July 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (19 July 2013 - Friday)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Myanmar to promote tourist sector with Japan

YANGON, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism will promote tourist sector with Japan aimed at boosting bilateral relation between the two countries, local media reported Monday.

Traditional cultural heritage plays an important role in promoting tourist sector of the two countries, the Daily Eleven quoted Myanmar Minister for Culture U Aye Myint Kyu as saying.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Myanmar military to return 18,000 acres of confiscated land

The Myanmar military will return over 18,000 acres of confiscated farmlands to their original owners, according to the Minister of Defence.

He told Myanmar's parliament on Tuesday that the commander-in-chief of defence service himself has instructed the military to return unused farmlands which are located outside military bases.

U.S. to help Myanmar with fish farming

YANGON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States will provide technical assistance to Myanmar to help the country farm fresh water Tilapia fish, local press reported Sunday.

As part of the efforts to promote Tilapia fish farming, a U.S. team comprising experts would give advice and farming technique to Myanmar to enable it to export high quality fish and fish products, the New Light of Myanmar quoted Myanmar Fisheries Federation as saying.

Burma is Opening for Business

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center. 

After decades of political and economic isolation, Burma is slowly opening to the world. The U.S. government has issued a general license making it easier for American companies to do business there.

Myanmar Is Now Home To An Increasing Number Of International Law Firms

Following major investments flowing into Myanmar, international law firms are now scrambling to get into the country for a piece of the action in the rapidly developing economy, as foreign investors and businesses building their presence in Myanmar will certainly require legal counsel.

Myanmar represents a new market for lawyers, not just investors. Before 2011, when the current government took over from the former military junta, the country was closed off culturally and economically, and remained stagnant in terms of development.

Myanmar seeks natural gas imports from 2014 on growing power, industrial demand

Myanmar is looking to import natural gas starting next year in order to meet surging domestic demand, an official with the Yangon Electricity Supply Board said Friday.

The YESB has issued a tender, which will close at the end of July, calling for supplies of between 150,000 Mcf/day and 200,000 Mcf/day to start from March next year, said U Aung Khaing, chairman of the YESB.

Myanmar's Mandalay airport to become logistics hub

Myanmar has invited bids for transforming the Mandalay international airport into a logistics hub that will help in transporting goods from and to other countries in and , state media reported Thursday.

The winner from the private sector will be announced by the end of this month, Xinhua cited the New Light of Myanmar as saying.

Japan, Myanmar discuss economic cooperation

and Myanmar have discussed bilateral economic cooperation in agricultural sector in Nay Pyi Taw, official media reported Friday.

The meeting on cooperation in agricultural sector was held Thursday, attended by a Japan-Myanmar goodwill delegation and led by Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Myint Hlaing and Japanese Ambassador Mikio Numata, reported Xinhua citing the New Light of Myanmar. 

Haribo’s Myanmar Sugar Rush

German confectionary giant Haribo is set to have its products on Myanmar’s shelves for the first time, after inking a deal with leading market expansion services provider DKSH.

Dr. Joerg Wolle, President & CEO of DKSH Group, commented: “We are delighted to help grow Haribo's business in Singapore and to support its market entry to Myanmar. Myanmar is a very challenging market with significant growth opportunities. Therefore we are very much looking forward to this collaboration with Haribo.”

Wijaya Karya team up with UMG to explore Myanmar

Indonesian publicly listed construction company PT Wijaya Karya will set up a joint venture company with Myanmar’s United Mercury Group (UMG) to help expand its business overseas.

Wijaya Karya foreign affairs department manager Destiawan Soewarjono said on Thursday they would construct a precast factory and work on big infrastructure projects in Myanmar through the joint venture firm.

Myanmar's authorities seize nearly 70K tons of illegal logs: ministry

Myanmar's authorities have seized over 69,600 tons of illegal logs from April 2011 to June this year, according to Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. 

It's the ministry was responding to a question raised by in the Parliament by MP Aung Kyi for Nyaung Oo Township Constituency on July 18 whether the government has any plan to stop legal and illegal logging in Myanmar's forests to export and to prevent further deforestation.

Construction and Housing Development bank to open in 2014

Myanmar will be opened Construction and Housing Development Bank in January next year, according to Win Zaw, Managing Director of Construction and Housing Development Bank Public Company Limited.

“We have an idea for low income people to own an apartment or a house with a long term loan (20 years to 30 years) and establish a financial system,” said Kyaw Lwin, Union Minister for Construction.

EU reopens preferential trade with Myanmar

Myanmar is set to profit from a preferential trade agreement with the European Union (EU) starting on July 19, according to an EU press release.

“This has the potential to make a huge difference to the country’s economic development and to bring real benefits to the people of Myanmar,” said EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Asia must tackle structural bottlenecks: BOT Governor

Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul warned that before Asian nations are moving forward, they need to address structural bottlenecks to ensure sustainable development.

At The Nation’s 43rd Anniversary International Conference on Friday, in his opening speech on "Asian and Thai Economies in a Volatile World", Prasarn said that the apparent slowdown in Asia, despite gradual improvement of the advanced economies, lends support to the idea that Asia also has its own structural bottleneck issues to deal with.

Germany shows interest in expanding tourism businesses in Myanmar

Germany is interested in expanding its tourism businesses in Myanmar, and urged the country to preserve its historical heritage, according to German Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

"German companies have been operating in Myanmar tourism industry. As Germans love to travel a lot, Germany is really interested in expanding the tourism business in Myanmar. However, it would be a lot better if more chances are given to medium-level tourism services and programmes," said Cornelia Pieper, German Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

Germany shows interest in expanding tourism businesses in Myanmar

Germany is interested in expanding its tourism businesses in Myanmar, and urged the country to preserve its historical heritage, according to German Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

"German companies have been operating in Myanmar tourism industry. As Germans love to travel a lot, Germany is really interested in expanding the tourism business in Myanmar. However, it would be a lot better if more chances are given to medium-level tourism services and programmes," said Cornelia Pieper, German Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

French agro company teams up with Myanmar firm

Myanmar Investment Commission has recently granted license to a joint venture formed by a local private firm and France’s company to run agricultural businesses including a rice factory in Ayeyarwady Region in the delta are of the Ayeyarwady River.

The France’s company, Societe Industrielle Agricole Et Commercial D’ Outre Mer (SIACOM), will work with Myanmar’s XY Trading Company to operate their agribusinesses in Hinnthada Township in the region. The two have joined hands under the new company Shwe Zabar Co Ltd, which aims to set up rice mills for processing steam-rice and run other agricultural businesses there.

Myanmar Port Authority will only compensate for crops in Thilawa

Although local residents have demanded the authorities to compensate confiscated lands for the Thilawa port project, Myanmar Port Authority said they will only compensate for the crops but not the land.

"During our last meeting with officials from Myanmar Port Authority, they told us that they will give worthy compensation for the crops. They will have to submit to the authorities for compensate for the lands. As for me, I don't want to give away my 47 acres of farmlands for only crop compensation," said Tin Ohne, a farmer from Shwepyitharyar ward, Baypauk village in Thilawa area.

UK to invest in Myanmar's oil, gas and travel sectors

The United Kingdom has pledged to invest over US$385 million in Myanmar in two years time, according to statistics of the Directorate of Investment and Company Registration.

The UK invested over US$2659.954 million in March 2011, and the investment is increased to over US$3045.434 million in June 2013. China is still the biggest investor in Myanmar with more than US$14 billion. The UK is standing in 5th place behind China, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Myanmar nominates historic sites for UNESCO world heritage

The ancient cities of Bagan and Innwa in the Mandalay region will be submitted for inclusion to UNESCO's World Heritage List, according to officials from Myanmar's Department of Archaeology.

"If they are included in the UNESCO list, the world will become more interested in our historical and cultural heritages and more tourists will visit Myanmar," said an official.

Italy's Ferrero chocolate brand launches in Myanmar

Italy-based Ferrero Chocolate has been granted permission to export its products to Myanmar and distribute them locally. The move was announced at a ceremony to appoint an official sales representative held at the Park Royal Hotel on July 15.

Ferrero is a global brand producing many products, including the bite-sized Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Pocket Coffee, Mon Cheri, Giotto, Tic Tac breath mints, Nutella chocolate spread, Raffaello coconut cream candy, and the Kinder line of products to name a few popular ones.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Mirror Daily (18 July 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (18 July 2013 - Thursday)

The Myanmar Times (8 - 14 July 2013)

Myanmar Risks Getting Old Before Becoming Rich, OECD Report Says

Myanmar may start aging earlier than its neighbors, increasing the urgency for its leaders to implement policies that optimize economic growth, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

The Southeast Asian nation with an estimated 59 million people has a population structure like China’s in the 2000s, signaling it’s approaching the point where the share of working-age citizens starts declining, an OECD report showed. By contrast, Cambodia and Laos will probably see their proportion of workers continue to rise, it said. 

Myanmar could let foreign banks buy stakes in local lenders

(Reuters) - Myanmar's government has signalled it could let foreign banks buy stakes in local lenders as it worries that resistance by domestic banks to joint ventures could hamper plans to attract investment and rebuild the financial system.

The government is finalising regulations to allow foreign banks to begin operations through joint ventures, Deputy Finance Minister Maung Maung Thein said, although he noted some local banks did not want to do this.

Myanmar Regains EU Trade Benefits, May Boost Clothing Exports

The European Union ended 16-year-old trade sanctions against Myanmar because of labor-rights improvements in the Asian country, whose clothing exports to Europe may be boosted by the EU step. 

Myanmar will be given preferential access to the EU market tomorrow for the first time since 1997, when the bloc suspended the trade benefits because the nation violated international conventions on forced labor. 

Myanmar's beans and pulses industry survives changing times

During Myanmar's socialist era, private trade in pulses and beans was dampened by death threats. "State buyers would tell farmers that if they didn't sell them their beans they would be punished with death," said Myint Zaw, executive member of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association. Under military strongman Ne Win, the crop's export was a state monopoly handled by the Myanmar Agriculture Produce Trading from 1962 to 1988, and side dealing was prohibited.

New Light of Myanmar (18 July 2013 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (17 July 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (17 July 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (17 July 2013 - Wednesday)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

New Taskforce to support development of financial services sector in Myanmar

The FINANCIAL -- The UK and Burma have created a Financial Services Taskforce which will support the development of Burma’s financial services sector, according to the announcment of The UK's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. 

The new taskforce will bring together experts from both sides including relevant authorities and financial and professional services firms, according to Standard Chartered.

Myanmar Seeks To Liberalise Foreign Exchange Market

YANGON, July 17 (Bernama) -- Myanmar will seek to transform its managed float foreign exchange regime to free float exchange one as part of its efforts in liberalising the foreign exchange market, China's Xinhua news agency said citing a report of local daily Voice on Wednesday.

Myanmar Nears First Local Credit Card

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s cash-based economy may soon make another inroad into global financial inclusion, with at least one private local bank hoping to get approval to issue credit cards to local people by year-end.

Cooperative Bank Ltd., known as CB Bank, says it wants to introduce these cards for Myanmar citizens, allowing the bank’s customers to carry Visa V +0.14% and Mastercard MA +0.60%-branded credit cards for both domestic and international transactions.

Myanmar set for stock exchange

Deputy Minister for Finance and Revenue, Maung Maung Thein confirmed on 15 July that Myanmar will begin implementing a stock exchange market this year.

Earlier announcements state the stock exchange market will be established by 2015, but preparations are already under way.

Government grants land concessions for local hotel projects

Myanmar Investment Commission has granted land concessions to two local companies to invest in hotel businesses in Mandalay Region - including the historic Bagan site - in the latest move to encourage local enterprises to invest in the hotel and tourism sector.

More high-rise buildings approved in Yangon

Yangon authorities have given the green light for the construction of a 24-storey high-rise building on Kyaikkasan road, Tamwey Township according to reports from the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

Floating hotel postponed due to high water in Mandalay

Construction of a floating hotel being built on the Ayeyarwaddy River has been postponed due to high water during this years monsoon season, according to project managers.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Myanmar Benefits From Thai Rice Subsidy As Thai Traders Increase Rice Trade

The Thai government has embarked on a disastrous and costly rice subsidy program to benefit its rice farmers – the program cost the government $4.4 billion last year – but an unexpected beneficiary turned out to be Myanmar, as Thai traders flock to the neighboring country to buy rice that will then be sold to the Thai government at a hiked price.

Vietnamese businesses encouraged to invest in Myanmar

Businesses should invest in Myanmar right now instead of waiting for a couple of years when they may miss lucrative opportunities, said Tran Bac Ha, Chairman of Association of Vietnamese Business Investors in Myanmar on July 15 in Hanoi.

Speaking at a seminar on investment opportunities in Myanmar, Ha believes that businesses will prosper right now in the newly opened market in Myanmar.

Opportunities and challenges as Colliers opens office in Myanmar

Colliers International becomes the first international real estate services company to open an office in Myanmar.

"We see huge potential in the country, with many of our clients seeking new opportunities in what is arguably the last major frontier market in the region," CEO Piers Brunner said yesterday.

As Tourists Flock to Burma, Country’s Wealthy Fly Out for Health

While Burma struggles to cope with a surge in foreign tourists, increasing numbers of Burmese are flying out of the country to spend millions of dollars on improving their health.

The phenomenon of tens of thousands of wealthy Burmese seeking medical treatment abroad was spotlighted by a travel trade magazine which last week warned of the inadequacy of Burma’s health care for tourists.

Yangon faces housing shortages - Chief Minister

Yangon is unable to provide adequate housing for its growing population as the number of households exceeds the governments capacity to construct new housing projects by over three and a half times, Yangon regional chief minister said on Monday.

Chief Minister of Yangon Region, Myint Swe was addressing the issue during the opening ceremony for a new housing development bank that will help lower-income families purchase new houses. Yangon is Myanmar's biggest city with a population of four million as of 2007, which experts say is expected to rise rapidly as more people move from the country side to the city.

Three new international carriers to fly direct to Myanmar

Three new international airlines are planning to fly direct flights to Myanmar, according to a spokesperson from Yangon International Airport.

They are Thailand-based Nok Air, Business Air and Singapore-based Tiger Air. Representatives from the airlines discussed plans with officials from Yangon International Airport to start direct flights in September ahead of the peak tourist season in Myanmar.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

New Light of Myanmar (16 July 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (16 July 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (16 July 2013 - Tuesday)

China's Wanbao signs new contract for controversial copper-mine

China's Wanbao Mining Company signed a new contract for the controversial copper-mine project in Sagaing Region last week, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission.

The Myanmar Investment Commission approved a new contract for Letpadaungtaung copper-mine project on July 10 which gives 51 percent of profits to Myanmar government, 19 percent to the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL), and 30 percent to Wanbao Company. Gen Yi, Managing Director of Myanmar Wanbao Company, ensured there would be transparency and all agreements will be revealed to the public.

Local entrepreneurs invest in hotels and tourism sector

Local entrepreneurs have invested over US$ 7 billion in Myanmar’s hotels and tourism sector, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration.

The total investment volume of local entrepreneurs in hotel and tourism sector was over US$ 175 billion as of June 10 this year and the current volume has reached over US$ 183 billion on July 1. So far, over US$7 billion has been invested in Myanmar within 20 days.

Help unsqueeze Myanmar’s packed hotels

I made a business trip to Myanmar with two female colleagues a few months ago. Knowing most of us were visiting the country for the first time, our partners, a Chinese company in Myanmar, kindly arranged a sightseeing tour including a two-day stay in Mandalay, the second-largest city in the country.

You cannot imagine how scarce the hotel accommodation there was. Since it was an unscheduled trip, virtually every ordinary room in the city's four- or five-star hotels was already booked by the time we started looking.

Myanmar to open capital markets by 2015

Banks, miners and hotels are likely to be among the first to list on the Yangon Stock Exchange as early as in October 2015 says PwC.

Myanmar is trying to lure foreign investors by updating its legal and regulatory framework, and opening its stock exchange within the next two years.

Monday, 15 July 2013

New Light of Myanmar (15 July 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (15 July 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (15 July 2013 - Monday)

Asean calls for multicountry tourism strategy

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is urging tour operators from the 10-member states  of the grouping to develop multi-country packages highlighting the so-called “experiential and creative tourism.” 

Such a kind of tourism is reportedly a rising trend among consumers seeking more authentic travel experience, said Aung Zaw Win, chair of the Asean tourism product development working group. 

German foundation to organize tourism workshops in Myanmar’s ethnic regions

Germany-based Hanns Seidel Foundation will organize community-based tourism workshops in Mon, Kayah and Shan States in Myanmar in coming September, the foundation’s representative said.

“We intend to organize the workshops in four regions - Kayah, Mon, Shan and Chin. But, Chin State is not certain yet. Even if we will do in Chin, it will be only in November. Our aim is to help the region’s commercial development related to tourism,” said Achim Munz, local representative from Hanns Seidel Foundation.

Hong Kong’s AIA opens office in Myanmar

Hong Kong-based insurance company AIA Group Limited has opened its representative office on July 13 in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, according to local sources.

The representative office will only work as a consultancy offering insurance consultation and will not do direct insurance services, according to Mr. Simeon Preston from AIA.

Myanmar exports farm products via Muse

China-Myanmar main border trade center, Muse, has traded US$225 million of goods in June, 2013, according to sources.

The center mainly exported farm products such as rice, bean, corn and sesame.

Myanmar discusses with Thailand to open new border trade center

Myanmar is in discussion with Thai government about opening a new border trade center in Kayin State bordering Thailand, according to Zaw Min, the chief minister for Kayin State.

The center will be located at Phayar Thonesu (Three Pagodas Pass), a border area in Kyarinn Seikkyi Township in the Kayin State.

Myanmar: New Challenges Of Economic Transition – Analysis

Until a few years ago, as roaming services were inexistent, a foreign visitor who wanted to use a cell phone in Myanmar had to buy a local SIM card for the sum of USD1500. However, there are now around 500,000 tourists each year – symbol of the stupendous economic transformation of the country – and this number is expected to grow by 20-30% this year. After 50 years of military government, economic prospects obtained a brighter hue for Myanmar, which is planning on an average yearly GDP growth of 8.8% by 2030. The transition to a market-oriented system is on track with Myanmar, to quote the IMF, establishing itself as “Asia’s next economic frontier”.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Telenor moves Thai exec to head Myanmar business

Norwegian operator appoints Telenor group executives to management positions in Myanmar, but pledges to build pool of local talent.

Telenor has named the management team that will lead its new Myanmar business, including appointing Petter Furberg as CEO.

Furberg is currently CFO of DTAC, the Thai mobile operator majority owned by Telenor, and has served within the Telenor group for 14 years

TAITRA holds 1st ever trade promotion fair in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar--The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), Taiwan's main trade promotion body, opened its first trade fair ever in Myanmar Friday, hoping to create opportunities for Taiwanese equipment makers in the emerging market.
A total of 126 Taiwanese companies and business groups are participating in the trade fair, called EMMA (electrical, motor, machinery and auto parts) Fair Myanmar 2013, that is being held in Yangon until July 15.

Myanmar Foreign Investment Reached $42 Billion From 32 Countries, Production And Hotel Sectors Favored In June

Foreign investment in Myanmar has now reached more than $42 billion from 32 countries. In June alone, the up-and-coming investment hotspot received $423 million in foreign investment, $379 million of which came from Thailand.

The 14 enterprises given permission to invest also came from four other countries: Singapore’s investment totaled $23.6 million; Britain invested $15.8 million; China $4.1 million, and India $9.6 million.

Chinese firms in Myanmar attempt to fix image problem

Facing unexpected turbulence over its investments in Myanmar, China is employing a strategy more commonly used by Western corporations: The “corporate social responsibility” campaign.

Hence last week’s rollout of new guidelines to be followed by Chinese firms doing business here in Myanmar (Burma), a country that until recently had been viewed by many as a Chinese client state. 

A tall order for Myanmar tourism

Tour tickets by many travel and tour companies in Myanmar declined by about 40 percent this year.

Despite a greater number of travelers than last year’s record high, most of the travelers to Myanmar are foreign businessmen and the number of package tours declined this year.

The number of travelers reached a record high number of one million in 2012 and it was expectedto rise further, however, the travelers are in Free Individual Tour (FIT) and the number of package tours was still low, said a tour industry group.

Burma's $8.5 Billion Port Project Facing Hurdles

New and Improved Airports Needed as Burma’s Tourism Grows, Officials Say

RANGOON — With the winning bids for Burma’s three major new airport projects due to be announced by the end of this month, officials say the contracts are necessary, given that the government hopes to draw over 7 million tourists to the country by 2020.

The existing international airports for Rangoon and Mandalay will be upgraded, while a new international airport—expected to rival other major Southeast Asian hubs such as Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Singapore’s Changi in size—will be built at Hanthawaddy in Burma’s central Pegu Division, about an hour’s drive north of Rangoon, the country’s biggest city.

‘The Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Also Has to Pay’

Tax reform is under way in Burma, with a government-backed committee now reviewing the tax system and offering suggestions in a country rampant with corruption and tax evasion. The Board of Scrutinizing and Monitoring of Tax Collection formed in May, and among its members is Maw Than, an economics scholar and a patron of President Thein Sein’s National Economic and Social Advisory Council. In an exclusive interview with The Irrawaddy, Maw Than, who was once a rector at the Institute of Economics in Rangoon, discusses how Burma’s tax system is set for some major changes—with military-backed companies now paying taxes for the first time in decades. 

Myanmar Economic Bank has been losing money for two decades: audit report

The state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank (MEB) has been operating at a loss for over 20 years, according to a report from the Union Auditor General’s Office read during a parliamentary session on Thursday.

The report was read out by Thurein Zaw, vice-chairman of the Public Accounts Joint Committee and details the findings of the Union Auditor General’s Office on state budgets and accounts for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

US to invest in Myanmar’s infrastructure development

United States companies will start investing in Myanmar’s development focusing in sectors such as education and health according to Alender Feldman, chairman of the US-ASEAN Business Council who was meeting with President Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw.

China is the biggest investor to Myanmar this year so far followed by the US, according to the reports of Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA).

Authorities look for suitable location for hotel zone in Mon State

Myanmar authorities have been facing difficulties finding a suitable location for a new hotel zone in Mon State, Southern Myanmar according to officials.
"At the moment, we don't have any land to designate for the hotel zone. Most of the lands in Mottama area are religious sites," said an official from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Yangon office rental higher than New York or Tokyo say investors

Finding office space in Yangon, Myanmar's economic hub is becoming increasingly difficult because of high prices and limited availability.

As many foreign companies rush to open businesses in Myanmar, limited office space and exuberant rental fees means that many have to rely on the big hotels such as the Sedona, Traders, Sakura Tower and La Pyae Won Plaza.

General Motors to sell Chevrolets in Myanmar

The US-based General Motors (GM) plans to open a Chevrolet showroom in Myanmar at the end of this year, according to reports.
GM are the latest global motor company to open up shop in Myanmar, which promises a growing demand as more roads are built and consumers begin to buy more cars.

Friday, 12 July 2013

2nd MPS - Myanmar Power Summit

Myanmar’s power needs call for strategic plans and investment opportunities

Myanmar’s power shortage is one of the biggest problems faced by investors and developers in the new frontier. With the influx of foreign companies and investors, Myanmar’s unstable electricity has become apparent and troughs of efforts are now underway to rectify this issue. Currently, only about 26% of the general public receives electricity, which is set to change by 2030 as Myanmar government makes bold plans to improve the statistic to 80%.

Myanmar to assess environmental impact for oil refinery

Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy is planning to conduct an environmental impact assessment and social impact assessment for a new oil refinery plant that will process crude oil from Myanmar-China oil pipeline.

The plant is to be built in Minhla Township of Magway region near Oil Chemical Factory and the government is inviting tenders to carry out the assessments.

Information Ministry to lease government land under market value

Myanmar's Ministry of Information is planning to lease two plots of land in Yangon worth five billion kyats each to Forever Group, a joint venture company currently in business with the ministry.

The 2 acres are in Yay Ku broadcasting station in Yangon which is owned by the Ministry of Information. Forever Group is leasing the land to build a studio for their programmes.

Project to supply drinking water for Yangon townships

Construction has begun on the Lagonpyin Water Supplying Project which will generate water to four townships around Yangon as well as the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, according to government officials.

The project plans to supply 40 million gallons of water to Dagon Myo Thit, Thingangyun, Tharkayta and Dawpon townships. 30 million gallons will be drinking water and the remaining will go to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

New Light of Myanmar (12 July 2013 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (12 July 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (12 July 2013 - Friday)

Myanmar targets 80% mobile penetration by 2015 - President

Myanmar's government plans to increase the percentage of mobile phone users to 80 percent by 2015, according to a message President Thein Sein sent to parliament on July 8.

“Currently, only 7.08 percent of the Myanmar's 60 million population have access to mobile phones. Therefore, we are implementing a plan to increase the telephone density to 22.8 percent in the fiscal year 2013-14, 50 percent in 2014-15, and between 75 and 80 percent in 2015-16,” the President’s message read.

Mitsubishi & Nippon Koei eye to invest in Myanmar

The Japan-based Mitsubishi Materials Corporation and Nippon Koei companies are discussing plans to invest in Myanmar according to official reports.

Executives from the two companies were meeting officials from Myanmar's Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) who reported discussing matters relating to the rules and regulations of foreign investment.

Yangon flyover to be opened in January 2014

A two-tier flyover at the bustling Bayintnaung junction in Yangon will be opened to the public in January next year, according to officials.

"We only have a quarter left to complete. We expect to be finished in December. Cars will be able to cross the flyover in January," said Myint Kyaw, an official from the Bayintnaung flyover project.

Myanmar border trade exceeds US$ 700 million

Border trade is booming according to Myanmar's Commerce and Consumers Affairs Department, with exports exceeding imports and total trade value this year estimated at US$760 million by mid-July.

Tour companies offer 7 day package tours from Myawady

Local tour companies have started offering tour packages for foreign tourists in Myawady on the Myanmar/Thai border, according to a managing director from a tour company.

In the past foreign tourists were only allowed a restricted one day visit from the Myawady border gate whereas the Tachileik and Muse border gates in Shan State allowed a 7 day stay over.

Myanmar President To Visit UK, France

YANGON, July 11 (Bernama) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein will pay official visits to the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and France soon, an official announcement said Thursday.

The visits are expected to take place in days, Xinhua news agency reported.

Myanmar details Telenor, Ooredoo price plans

Telco ministry hails operators' retail rollout roadmaps, which will see cost of SIM cards fall substantially.

Telenor and Ooredoo, the successful applicants for two mobile licences in Myanmar, on Thursday shared more information on how much they will charge customers to use their services.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

US-ASEAN business council mission meets key Myanmar leaders

American business groups were in Myanmar this week on a mission to offer support for the country's economic reforms and discuss opportunities to support Myanmar's 2014 chairmanship of Asean.

New Light of Myanmar (11 July 2013 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (11 July 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (11 July 2013 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (10 July 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (10 July 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (10 July 2013 - Wednesday)

New Light of Myanmar (9 July 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (9 July 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (9 July 2013 - Tuesday)

New Light of Myanmar (8 July 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (8 July 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (8 July 2013 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (7 Jul 2013 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (7 Jul 2013 - Sunday)

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