Monday, 30 September 2013

Myanmar suffers from curse of the jade scorpion

The mining of Myanmar’s vast jade resources has come under attack from the West with the United States banning the importation of the jadeite from the country. While the military government now presents a softer and gentler face to the world, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the country’s northern Kachin state. Hidden behind the world’s longest running civil war, tens of thousands of ­people are being exploited in hell-like conditions; heroin is being abused on an unprecedented scale, creating the world’s largest HIV infected community, and what was once a pristine wilderness is being turned into an environmental nightmare.

Authorities urge the hotels to finish construction before SEA Games

Authorities urge the companies which are building Shangrila Residence and Rose Garden Hotel to be operational for the upcoming SEA Games, according to an official from Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.

Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw will be the two major locations that will have to provide the needed hotel rooms for the visitors.

Mazda makes its Myanmar move

Japanese carmaker Mazda inked a deal with domestic firms Automobile Alliance (AA) and Cycle and Carriage Automobile Myanmar (CCAM) to import its new vehicles to the Myanmar market, though rivals claimed domestic interest in the brand falls below its competitors.

With sole distribution rights, the two firms aim to launch sales and sell spare parts through a permanent Yangon showroom to be opened in 2014, though it will open a temporary showroom in Bahan township in November.

Myanmar expects 2m foreign tourists to visit this year

Myanmar is expecting to receive two million foreign tourists to the country by the end of this year, according to Vice President Sai Mauk Kham.

The statement was made at the ceremony of World Tourism Day held on September 27 in Nay Pyi Taw, the official capital, adding that there has been a sharp rise in the number of tourists visiting the country in the first eight months of this year, 58 percent up than the same period of last year.

Govt plans to target smuggling for AFTA

Myanmar aims to formalise trade flows and crack down on illegal goods ahead of the ASEAN Free Trade Area’s planned 2015 implementation, Minister of Commerce U Win Myint said.

Anti-smuggling mobile teams and other efforts have had some success in cutting down Myanmar’s cross-border commerce flowing outside official channels, he said.

Thai Deputy PM off to Yangon for Dawei JCC meeting

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan yesterday flew to Yangon to attend a meeting of the Thai-Myanmar Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) with Myanmar and Japan over the Dawei development project.

As JCC president, Myanmar is hosting the tripartite talks in Yangon. This will be the first time Japan will be joining the talks after being invited to invest in the project.

Myanmar's Jade Trade, A Lucrative But Deadly, HIV-ridden Industry

Myanmar is the world’s primary source of top-grade jade, but the jade mining industry in the Southeast Asian nation remains mired in a humanitarian catastrophe two years after the reform government took over control -- tens of thousands of workers are exploited and heroin is abused on an unprecedented scale, creating the world’s largest HIV-infected community.

US$1.8 billion required for clearing sandbanks in Ayeyawady River- Mandalay transport minister

Calculations indicate it will cost about US$1.8 billion to clear the sandbanks along the Ayeyawady River between Mandalay and Sagaing Regions, said Mr. Kyaw San, Transport Minister of the Mandalay Region.

The issue was first raised by MP Tin Oo who asked about the maintenance work along the course of Ayeyawady River at the regional parliament’s session on September 25.

US Govt Delegation Visits Burma, Discusses Sanctions

RANGOON — A joint delegation from the US state and treasury departments concluded on Friday a visit to Burma, where they met with American companies and reviewed the impact of easing US sanctions over the past year.

The delegation considered possible future changes to the US government’s Specially Designated Nationals List of individuals, groups and entities subject to economic sanctions, according to Sarah Hutchison, a US Embassy spokeswoman in Rangoon.

Thein Sein assigns 23 deputy ministers as President’s Special Taskforce

Myanmar President Thein Sein has assigned 23 deputy ministers as President’s Special Taskforce to deliver reforms more effectively, according to the press release on the President Office’s website.

The President called a meeting with them on September 27, and he appointed the deputy ministers as the chairpersons of 26 newly formed Cabinet Sub-committees or the “Delivery Units”.

Just back from Burma, beating the crowds

Michael Feeley and Lisa Schwartz, Berkeley

Why we went: Burma has recently made travel easier. We wanted to see Burma before the projected increase in tourism.

Don't miss: Inle Lake and the cottage industry craftspeople. Don't miss the weavers and silversmiths.

Japan-based ADK Group plans to do advertising business in Myanmar

Japan’s third largest advertising agency, ADK Group, is entering a joint venture with Myanmar's Hintha Media Corporation to launch media and advertising business in the country, according to the company’s press conference in Yangon on September 26.

Proposal for the joint venture has been submitted to the Myanmar Investment Commission, and it is expected to be able to start the business in October, said Mr. Min Banyar San, CEO of Hintha Media Corporation.

Acer Inc to open representative office in Yangon

Acer Inc, a leading Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation, will soon set up a representative office in Yangon, sources say.

The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) on Wednesday approved temporary registration for Acer Computer Co Ltd, a Thailand-based subsidiary of Acer Inc, to operate its Southeast Asian activities.

Myanmar to be featured in Globe Trekker TV show

Globe Trekker, an adventure tourism television show, will be broadcasted this year their work that they had carried out in Myanmar, according to a local film director.

Emerging Markets: A conversation with Trade Minister Ed Fast

OTTAWA — Trade Minister Ed Fast spoke with The Vancouver Sun about Canada’s opportunities in emerging markets, just before heading off for his latest Asia visit. This is an edited transcript of his remarks:

On the expected impact of emerging markets:

“The economic balance is shifting very quickly in the global economy. For Canada to simply sit back and say, ‘We’re going to continue to rely on our traditional markets to drive economic growth’ is a losing proposition.

UNESCO offer help to draw Master Plan for historical park in Bagan

UNESCO has offered to assist in drafting a master plan for the up-keeping and administering of the Bagan historical park in line with international starndards, sources say.

The government is planned to get Bagan, which has over 3,000 ancient buildings built between 1,000 AD and 1,400 AD, into a world heritage list. Moreover, the government is also planning to transform Bagan into historical park, according to announcement from Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library under Ministry of Culture.

New Light of Myanmar (30 Sep 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (30 Sep 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (30 Sep 2013 - Monday)

Thai, Myanmar trade cheer newly opened border crossings

THE opening of four Thai-Myanmar cross-border checkpoints last month has received a warm welcome from tour operators on both sides.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration and Population announced that Tachileik-Mae Sai, Myawaddy-Mae Sot, Kawthoung-Ranong and Htee Khee-Sunron have been made international entry and exit points.

Eighty-six hotels to offer over 7,000 rooms for SEA Games

Eighty-six hotels in Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw will offer over 7,000 rooms for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, an official from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said.

These rooms will be allocated for VIPs, judges, and athletes as well as foreign visitors coming to watch the SEA Games.

Myanmar FM Urges New York Investors To Join The Gold Rush In His Country

NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Bernama) -- Despite being a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which as a collective group usually has a positive ring about it in the international arena, Myanmar was shunned in the past by much of the world, particularly the Western nations, which had imposed tough sanctions against the country's former repressive military dictatorship.

General Electronic to help Myanmar’s gas turbines

General Electronic Int’l (GE) is poised to provide assistance to the Ministry of Electric Power to help promote the capacity of the existing gas turbines.

GE will also give assistance in building new turbines projects.

Tourists benefit as hotels get Games upgrade

Yangon-area hotels have undergone inspections for upgrades in advance of the Southeast Asian Games, according to the Myanmar Hotelier Association (MHA). 

"We started [the inspections] in September in time for the SEA Games. It's only for the Yangon Hotel Zone," said Tin Win, chairman of Yangon Hotel Zone. He added that the MHA cannot give star ratings to the hotels but can only conduct the upgrades.

Myanmar approves Ks 425 billion for new construction projects

The Myanmar government has approved Ks 425 billion (US$ 438 million) to be used for three construction projects in Yangon, sources say.

The projects will be implemented over three years, with half of the profits from each project to be shared with Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

Shwe Taung Junction City Development Co Ltd will invest Ks200 billion in the joint-venture project with YCDC at open-air Bogyoke Market in Yangon.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

New Light of Myanmar (28 Sep 2013 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (28 Sep 2013 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (28 Sep 2013 - Saturday)

Mobile operator unveils franchise service aimed at Myanmar women

Qatar's state-owned carrier Ooredoo has unveiled a new franchise program to encourage women in Myanmar to contribute to the local economy.

Together with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, the operator highlighted "an urgent need" for more women to participate in the nation's economic development where 25 percent of the population currently live below the poverty line. In a statement released Thursday, Ooredoo said: "Women should have equal opportunities to access mobile technology today in order to be able to best advance their lives and those who depend on them."

Japan pledges to help Myanmar with democratization, economic reforms

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin agreed Wednesday to boost bilateral cooperation in various areas such as democratization and economic reforms, Kishida said.

Kishida told reporters after a meeting with the Myanmar foreign minister in New York that the Japanese government will make efforts to sign an investment treaty at an early date aimed at helping economic reform in Myanmar.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Myanmar offers huge biz: Exim Bank

The twin factors of traditional goodwill for India and the increasing focus on promoting trade among neighbouring countries will give a boost to bilateral trade between India and Myanmar, according to the executive director of Exim Bank of India (Exim India) David Rasquinha.

Thailand to help upgrade Kengtung-Taunggyi Road

Shan state officials have agreed to cooperate with Thai entrepreneurs to upgrade Kengtung-Taunggyi road on Monday.

Shan State Chief Minister Sao Aung Myat made the decision during a meeting with Thai delegates led by Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasae, due to insufficient budget from the Myanmar government to do their own upgrade.

Myanmar wants to increase border trade with Thailand

BANGKOK, 24 September 2013 Myanmar is determined to strengthen economic partnership withThailand, as it targets increasing trade in the border areas.

After attending a welcome dinner party hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Speaker of Myanmar`s Parliament U Shwe Mann proceeded to the Government House to meet with Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Tripartite discussion to be held for Japanese investment in Dawei SEZ

A tripartite discussion between Myanmar, Japan and Thailand will be held in Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw this week to bring in Japan as a developer in the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a Myanmar government source says.

“Italian-Thai Company has already faced financial problems in implementing the Dawei SEZ. So we are now going to discuss with Japan. I think Japan can participate in the project,” said Sett Aung, Deputy Minister for the National Planning and Economic Development.

Myanmar's energy sector boosted by World Bank investment

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The World Bank has approved a $140 million interest-free loan to upgrade an existing power plant in Myanmar, the bank said.

The project, at the Thaton station in the southern state of Mon, will replace aging gas turbines with new units which will produce 250 percent more electricity with the same amount of gas while reducing noise and carbon dioxide emissions.

Why fewer foreign investors are entering Myanmar

Myanmar’s less restrictive new foreign investment law, its large pool of cheap labour and its abundant natural resources are the good news for foreign investors. However, this hasn’t stopped many from voicing concern about the country’s more inauspicious facts: poor infrastructure, a lagging IT sector, unskilled labour and outdated labour laws. It’s generally agreed that the investment climate will ultimately be determined by how well the country’s leadership deals with political instability.

Company opens first office in Burma

A BUSINESS from south Essex has become the first UK company to open an office in Burma.

Stanford-le-Hope-based Claridon,alogistics company which boasts Nato, the US government and Harley Davidson among its clients, has set up an office in the city of Yangon.

Japan approves US$ 5 billion development loan for Myanmar’s growth

Japan has provided Myanmar with an annual, low-interest development loan of US $5 billion (nearly Ks 5 trillion) as part of a 40-year development plan to assist the country’s growth, sources say.

The loan, at a rate of 0.01 per cent per annum, is set at a lower interest rate than for a recently-approved Chinese loan.

Rangoon Will Become a Megacity

RANGOON — Rangoon is Burma’s biggest city—it’s commercial and financial capital—but until just two years ago, it did not have an urban planning department. Toe Aung, a former army major, decided to set one up in 2011, the year reformist President Thein Sein came to power, and is now working to create a roadmap for future infrastructure projects in the city of 5 million people.

Old Burmese Royal capital of Inwa is looking to become an important tourism destination

MANDALAY- Inwa is a powerful ancient capital of Burmese kings from the 14th century to the 19th century and was abandoned following a powerful earthquake which totally destroyed the old capital. It was never rebuilt. But it turned now into a popular tourist attraction as it is located only 21 km away in the southern region of Mandalay. The small city is on the way to Mandalay new airport.

The Mirror Daily (27 Sep 2013 - Friday)

New Light of Myanmar (27 Sep 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (27 Sep 2013 - Friday)

Myanmar approves new foreign investments in manufacturing sector

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved new investments from six countries in the manufacturing sector between September 1 and 20, according to MIC reports.

Businesses from Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Kingdom won the MIC’s approval to set up garment factories, automobile assembly plants, and manufacturing for construction materials.

Kingdoms of fortune

The former Myanmar capitals of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura boast a wealth of Ayutthaya-style art and icons

Thai visitors to the ancient kingdoms of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura in northern Myanmar will no doubt find themselves flashing back to the history lessons of their school days and particularly the events that followed the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. Familiar Siamese art forms decorate the walls and ceilings of temples and the signs of former abundance perhaps explain why the Thai captives taken to Ava never made it back to their homeland.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Leading S Korean steelmaker to invest in Myanmar construction industry

South Korean multinational steelmaker POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Company) will invest in Myanmar’s construction industry, according to a company official.

To carry out the construction projects, Myanmar POSCO E&C (Engineering & Construction) Co Ltd was formed and the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration allowed temporary registration to POSCO Company on Monday.

Rexam PLC plans to establish factory in Myanmar

Rexam PLC, one of the world's top consumer packing companies, is planning to establish a factory in Yangon, according company sources.

The company has founded Rexam Ashmore Beverage Can Myanmar Co. Ltd after making a joint venture with UK-based Ashmore Investment Company to operate in Myanmar.

The Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration has allowed temporary registration to Rexam PLC and provided the company’s establishment permit on September 20.

Yangon hotels under inspection for upgrades before SEA Games

Yangon-area hotels have undergone inspections for upgrades in advance of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, according to the Myanmar Hotelier Association.

“We started [the inspections] in September in time for the SEA Games. It’s only for the Yangon Hotel Zone,” said Tin Win, chairman of Yangon Hotel Zone.

He added that the MHA cannot give star ratings to the hotels but can only conduct the upgrades.

World Bank powers up in Mon State

THE World Bank announced a US$140 million interest-free loan to fund a power plant in Mon State, according to a press release.

The 106 megawatt gas turbine power plant will replace an existing generating facility, producing 2.5 times the electricity with the same amount of fuel, it said. The World Bank added it eventually plans to meet 5 percent of Myanmar’s peak demand and 50pc of the state’s demand, it said.

Official: 'Gold Rush' Is On in Myanmar

NEW YORK, September 25, 2013 — Myanmar's top diplomat urged American companies to "join the gold rush" in his country, opening an Asia Society forum on Myanmar's economic future. "The door for business opportunity has been closed for four decades," said Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin. "That door is now wide open. It's a gold rush."

Firm on a Burma mission

A FIRM from Stanford-le-Hope has become the first privately- owned business to set up in Burma.

Claridon, in London Road, is a logistics firm that celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

It boasts NATO, Harley Davison and the Saudi Arabian National Guard among its clients but has now set up an office in Yangon, Burma’s commercial centre.

Japan to relax visa requirements for Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

Japan plans to relax visa requirements for Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos by the end of this year, as part of efforts to boost tourism to promote the country's economic growth strategy, government sources said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to unveil this plan at the same time that he announces his decision to lift the nation's sales tax rate to 8 percent from the current 5 percent from next April, they added.

Thailand, Myanmar seek to boost border trade, investment

BANGKOK, Sept 23 - Myanmar's Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today in the Thai capital, agreeing to boost bilateral trade and investment and solve ongoing border issues.

Thura Shwe Mann, the Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Myanmar parliament, paid a courtesy call on the Thai premier. He said Myanmar is in political transition and its government vowed to go through all hardship in order to become a democratic country. Myanmar can also learn from Thailand’s experiences.

World Bank aids Myanmar power project

WASHINGTON — The World Bank approved Tuesday aid for a power plant project in Myanmar aimed at boosting electricity production in one of Asia's poorest countries.

The Bank's board of executive directors authorized a $140 million interest-free loan to the Myanmar authorities, the development lender said in a statement.

The credit is from the International Development Association, the institution's fund for the world's poorest countries.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi looks to Singapore as model - minus the materialism

SINGAPORE, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cemented Singapore's role as a major economic partner and model for her country on a five-day trip to the island, taking home what she said were valuable lessons on education policy and anti-graft measures.

But her endorsement of the wealthy city-state came with a caveat - Myanmar could do without the materialistic and high-pressure society that has accompanied Singapore's decades-long transformation from tropical backwater to economic powerhouse.

Myanmar’s Forever Group expands production capabilities with Sony’s HXC-D70 system cameras

Television and radio broadcaster invests in a total of 17 units of Sony’s HXC-D70 system cameras, implements XDCAM format to boost studio operations and create an effective workflow.

Forever Group, a Myanmar-based television and radio broadcaster, has invested in additional units of Sony's HXC-D70 HD/SD system camera to boost its studio operations, bringing its total number of HXC-D70 cameras to 17 units. Through this acquisition, Forever Group brings high quality productions in both standard definition and high definition to its channels, which are some of the most-watched in Myanmar. Forever Group has also implemented Sony's XDCAM format to streamline its workflow and produce very high quality HD recordings at a bit rate of 50Mbps using MPEG 4:2:2.

Myanmar Looks forward to Closer Relations between China and ASEAN

The 10th China—ASEAN Expo and Business and Investment Summit was held from September 3 to 6. As one of ten ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Myanmar’s president U Thein Sein attended the summit and delivered a speech. As this was U Thein Sein’s second appearance at the expo since he won the presidential election, both Myanmar’s official and private media paid close attention to it.

Transformation of Cronies Key to Burma’s Development: 88 Leader

Leading pro-democracy activist Ko Ko Gyi says a careful transformation of the way that Burma’s cronies do business is important for the country’s socio-economic development, as their resources can support its fragile democratic and economic transition.

88 Generation Students group leader Ko Ko Gyi wrote in an op-ed for The Irrawaddy’s Burmese-language version on Monday that some businessmen could become assets for the country’s development if they are willing to be transparent about how they made their fortune under the former military regime.

New Light of Myanmar (26 Sep 2013 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (26 Sep 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (26 Sep 2013 - Thursday)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

ACLEDA bank profiting in Myanmar

Six months after ACLEDA bank launched a microfinance institution (MFI) in Myanmar, the number of clients has outpaced predictions by more than fourfold as Cambodia’s biggest bank cashes in on growing loan demand in a developing industry.

In Channy, president and CEO of ACLEDA, said yesterday that at the end of August, ACLEDA MFI Myanmar counted 2,782 active borrowing customers, much higher than an expected amount of roughly 600.

Regular flights to Japan coming soon, says MAI

Myanmar Airways International (MAI) will soon schedule regular flights to Japan, according to a company spokesperson.

MAI presently offers chartered flights to Japan. Depending on the market situation, direct regular flights there could begin as early as December, says the company’s marketing manager Aye Maya Thar.

Singapore-based construction firm to invest in high-rise building project

Singapore-based Soilbuild Construction Group will offer management and consultancy services in the construction of a 24-storey high-rise building project in Myanmar, according to a spokesperson for the firm.

In July this year, the firm signed an agreement to invest in Myanmar’s construction industry. The contract is worth approximately S$ 1.1-1.4 million.

Bangkok Airways to fly Nay Pyi Taw-Bangkok as of September 30

Bangkok Airways is set to launch regular flights between Nay Pyi Taw and Bangkok on September 30, making it the first foreign airliner to take off from Nay Pyi Taw International Airport.

Currently, only state-owned Myanmar Airways uses Nay Pyi Taw Airport for regular flights between Yangon and the administrative capital of Myanmar. Other international and local private carriers have yet to begin regular flight service at Nay Pyi Taw Airport, although low-cost carrier Air Asia will begin flights between Nay Pyi Taw and Bangkok next month.

Japan to aid Myanmar’s airport surveillance system

Japan will provide Myanmar with an airport surveillance system worth Y1.23 billion to be installed at six major airports, civil aviation authorities say.

The six airports are Mandalay International Airport, Nyung Oo Airport, Heho Airport, Thantwe Airport, Dawei Airport and Yangon International Airport.

Japan’s aid will include airport security, air traffic control, signal lamps, runway lights, fire extinguishers, X-ray machines, and scanners.

Spokesperson dismisses foreign bank account rumours surrounding Soe Thein

Presidential spokesperson Ye Htut has dismissed several rumours surrounding President’s Office Minister Soe Thein’s alleged involvement in five foreign bank accounts.

Ye Htut responded to the Daily Eleven’s inquiry following a report in the Messenger journal, and some foreign media, regarding the minister’s alleged foreign bank accounts. Soe Thein holds an important post in the government as one of President Thein Sein’s most trusted advisors.

Irrawaddy Princess to operate new luxury cruises

Irrawaddy Princess River Cruises will operate a new luxury cruise line along the Ayeyarwady River between Mandalay and Bagan in November.

The Princess Royal is the third river cruise ship run by Irrawaddy Princess, offering a three day, two night trip from Mandalay to Bagan and the same back to Mandalay.

Myanmar model to compete in Miss Tourism Queen Int'l in China

YANGON, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar model Khin Lapyae Zaw will compete in Miss Tourism Queen International (TQI) to be held in Xianning, China from Sept. 23 to Oct. 5.

The 18-year-old model Khin Lapyae Zaw, who is a university student majoring mathematics, was selected to represent Myanmar after winning a local photo beauty contest for Miss TQI 2013 pageant program.

ITE Group plc : ITE announces first major international oil and gas exhibition in Myanmar

ITE Group subsidiary, ECMI-ITE Exhibitions Asia together with partner company VEAS, has announced that it will organise the first major international oil and gas exhibition in Myanmar. The Myanmar Oil and Gas Week is endorsed by The Ministry of Energy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and will comprise an international trade exhibition, a training programme for local oil and gas industry professionals and an international conference.

Index Creative Village, partner plan MICE hub, park in Yangon

Under a newly revised business strategy to launch a new event park in Myanmar, Index Creative Village has linked up with a venue operator for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events in Yangon, planning to capitalise on increasing demand from overseas investors. 

Focused on major events - the ASEAN Chairmanship 2014 and Tourism Year in 2015 - the company, and business partner Forever Group, will jointly invest Bt200 million in the Myanmar Event Park (MEP) on 20,000 square metres in the heart of the business district.

New Light of Myanmar (25 Sep 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (25 Sep 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (25 Sep 2013 - Wednesday)

New Light of Myanmar (24 Sep 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (24 Sep 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (24 Sep 2013 - Tuesday)

US-Myanmar mountaineering team 1st to conquer SE Asia's 2nd tallest summit

YANGON -- A U.S.-Myanmar team has scaled Mount Galanrazi for the first time, proving it is the second-tallest peak in Southeast Asia, sources said Sunday.

The team, which included one Myanmar mountaineer and four Americans, started the ascent in the northern Kachin state on Aug. 15 and reached the summit on Sept. 7, said Paw Myint Oo, a spokesman for the Htoo Foundation that sponsored the climb.

Foreign bank account rumours draw govt ire

Official moved to combat rumours that the World Bank refused to cancel government debt after it had learned Myanmar stashed some US$11 billion in foreign bank accounts.

Myanmar has foreign reserves worth $7.6 billion in overseas bank accounts, according to Central Bank officials, denying reports spread in recent weeks by local media and online that the figure was much larger.

Used car roadblock removed

Car sale centres can now import later-model used vehicles following a government decision to ease restrictions at the beginning of September, said Yangon-based dealers.

Dealers that have already imported and sold 100 vehicles may apply to import used models dated from 2008 to 2011, said U Soe Htun with Farmer Auto.

Alstom’s eyes on Myanmar power

Large French conglomerate Alstom is aiming to set up a representative office in Myanmar, looking to take advantage of opportunities in the country’s hydropower sectors, chairman and CEO Patrick Kron said.

The firm – which was the main supplier for China’s Three Gorges Dam among a number of other Asia projects – plans to open a country representative office in Yangon, eyeing projects in electricity generation and transmission, he said.

Making property work for JVs - The Fine Print Legal & tax insight

In a common scenario, a Myanmar citizen has acquired land and intends to contribute it to a joint venture with a foreign partner with the capital and the know-how to develop it.

The difficulty the partners face is: How can the land be transferred to the joint venture given that it is prohibited for foreign-invested companies to own immovable property?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Myanmar admits $7bn in overseas stash

The Central Bank of Myanmar on Friday said the country's lenders have parked more than US$7 billion worth of foreign reserves in overseas bank accounts, rejecting reports that the figure was much larger and had led to the World Bank refusing to cancel its debt.

At a press conference in Naypyidaw, Central Bank chairman Kyaw Kyaw Maung denied earlier reports that the Myanmar government held up to $11 billion in five overseas accounts, and which said the size of the holdings had prompted the World Bank to stand firm on recouping the country's loans.

Myanmar firms seek foreign cooperation in energy development

YANGON, Sept. 23 -- Myanmar's local firms are seeking joint operation with foreign counterparts in oil and gas exploration and production on mutually beneficial basis for the development of the energy sector.

A total of 154 local firms have bid with the Ministry of Energy for the move in 18 more inland blocks and 30 more offshore blocks in the country, looking to joint venture with international companies.

Obama’s investment rules under fire, but no plans for a review

When they were unveiled in May, the United States government’s Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements were touted by Washington as the cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s policy for transparent business re-engagement with Myanmar.

However, just a handful of reports have been filed on the US embassy’s website and the requirements have drawn the ire of both businesses, which see them as an unnecessary hurdle, and human rights groups, which say they are not stringent enough to ensure US businesses respect human rights.

Mandalay Hill pagoda trustees introduce new tourist charge

Foreign tourists visiting Mandalay Hill will be required to pay a K2000 entrance fee from October, the board of trustees has announced.

Board chairman U Thein Tun said the fee would go directly toward the upkeep of the pagoda.

“It’s not the same as the charge paid to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. This fee replaces the old camera use charge,” he said.

Myanmar prepares to enact Consumer Protect Law

Myanmar is preparing to enact the Consumer Protection Law in a bid to ensure safety of locally manufactured products, said Mr. Khin Maung Lay, Director General of the Ministry of Commerce.

“The key point is to protect the consumers, and there are also promises [we] made to the other ASEAN countries. Meanwhile, if something goes wrong, the parties concerned seek a solution together, rather than getting punished,” the director general said during a workshop on consumer protection at the ministry office in Yangon.

Mandalay in smuggling haul

Authorities collect billions of kyat worth of smuggled goods but claim it barely makes a dent.

Mandalay Region officials have seized some K6.3 billion (US$6.3 million) worth of goods in the nine months since a dedicated anti-smuggling unit was formed, though billions of dollars of goods illegally cross the border each year, officials said.

Myanmar Gems Entrepreneurs Federation plans to establish a public bank

Myanmar Gems Entrepreneurs Federation is planning to establish a public bank, according to the members of the federation.

Once established, it will become the latest bank added to the current 22 public banks that are privately owned in Myanmar.

CB to offer debit abroad

Co-operative Bank (CB) debit card holders will likely be the first able to access cash from their Myanmar accounts when travelling in foreign countries, said CB managing director U Pe Myint.

The bank has successfully trialed withdrawals on its Mastercard-brand debit cards in China, Singapore and Thailand, and plans to test withdrawals in England and the US shortly, he said.

“We are preparing the infrastructure and waiting to serve our customers,” he said, adding Central Bank regulators are currently reviewing the service before approving it.

Luxury river cruise opens up mysteries of Myanmar

— After closing its doors to the West for half a century, Myanmar has reopened, inviting all to come and discover its treasures, ancient palaces of kings long gone, legends and mysteries told in stone. And the world is expected to come.

These are the early days, perhaps the best, and with ill-equipped roads and railways, there is no better way to explore than by river. Public ferries crisscross through glistening green paddies; old teak fishing boats can be rented by the day.

New Light of Myanmar (23 Sep 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (23 Sep 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (23 Sep 2013 - Monday)

Parami talks oil and gas - Analysis

Parami Energy Development is a branch of the Parami Group of Companies, working in the oil and gas industry in Myanmar. Parami CEO U Ken Tun here discusses Myanmar’s energy sector, including his view of investment, local requirements, production and exports.

In the last bidding round in 2012, the government awarded seven international exploration companies a total of nine onshore blocks. Now we have a historic bidding round for around 48 blocks currently ongoing.

Union Minister to grace 'Myanmar Power Summit'

Singapore-based Centre for Management Technology (CMT) announced that Union Minister U Khin Maung Soe, Ministry of Electric Power will deliver the Opening Address for the 2nd Myanmar Power Summit to be held in Yangon from September 23 to 25.

U Aung Than Oo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Electric Power and U Min Thaw, Head of Office, Ministry of Electric Power will also attend the event.

Tax gripes for mango traders

Mango traders near the Chinese border complained they are still charged a tax on fruit exports officially abolished three years ago, said an official with the Mandalay-based Mango Association.

Exporters from Muse’s wholesalers are routinely charged K50 per standard box of mangos to ship the fruit abroad, said association vice chairman Ko Nay Lin Maung Maung.

Myanmar Sees Huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), But American Companies Still Lag Behind

Myanmar has approved more than $1.8 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) projects from the start of the fiscal year on April 1 to the end of August, compared to the $1.4 billion in the previous fiscal year, but the Americans are losing the race to invest in the Southeast Asian nation to countries like South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.

Investments began to pour in following Myanmar’s political and economic reforms beginning in 2011, when the former military regime yielded power to the current government. The European Union and the United States lifted respective trade sanctions against the country, which allowed western companies to invest in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi fears Myanmar unrest could deter investors

SINGAPORE — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi warned Saturday that communal violence and weak "rule of law" could scare off investors despite the country's rapid pace of political and economic reform.

The democracy icon told a business conference in Singapore that a stalemate in resolving protracted insurgencies, inter-ethnic conflicts and lack of robust laws posed the biggest challenges to development in the former pariah state.

Cambodian banking firm to loan Ks8 billion to Myanmar SMEs

Cambodia-based ACLEDA MFI Myanmar Company Ltd is planning to provide loans up to Ks8 billion (over US$8 million) to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar, its CEO Kim Bunsocheat told The Daily Eleven on September 20.

ACLEDA Myanmar company raised about Ks1 billion (US$1 million) as the initial investment in the microfinance business early this year and it is now going to expand up to Ks8 billion, according to Mr. Kim Bunsocheat.

Investment office expands to meet demand

In another sign that investment in Myanmar is picking up, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration plans to expand its workforce by almost 40 percent to cope with its growing workload, an administrative official has told The Myanmar Times.

It will also open offices in regional and state capitals, with the first of these new branch offices to open in Mandalay in April 2014.

ZNA and Dongfeng motor companies to penetrate Myanmar market

Yaung Ni Oo Services Company has held a ceremony to mark distribution of commercial, passenger and ferry vehicles from China based ZNA and Dongfeng motor companies on September 16.

The company has an authorized dealer status from the Chinese companies. The buyers can purchase with installment system with AGD bank only in addition to cash down system. The lowest price will be Ks 19 million and the highest is Ks 300 million and over.

JC & C to make joint venture with Mazda to open a car showroom in Ygn

Mazda Motor Corporation from Japan and Singapore based JC & C Company have made a joint venture and formed Cycle & Carriage Automobile Myanmar Co Ltd to open a car showroom in Yangon, according to sources.

The CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation Mr. Masamichi Kogai said that the joint venture will sell brand new cars soon but they will sell lower branded cars in Myanmar first, according to Reuter’s news agency.

Myanmar (Burma): Too Late to Turn Back?

The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum special event hosted by MasterCard Worldwide at its headquarters in Purchase, NY, which will feature a presentation on Myanmar by journalist Barbara Crossette. This event will take place on September 23, 2013.

Barbara Crossette is currently the U.N. correspondent of The Nation and formerly The New York Times chief correspondent in Southeast Asia and South Asia, and the Times bureau chief at the UN.

Nissan to become the biggest automaker to start production in Myanmar

Japanese multinational automaker Nissan plans to begin complete production of its cars in Myanmar with its Malaysian partner as early as this year, according to the Nikkei business daily.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Malaysia’s Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd will jointly produce several thousand small passenger cars and pickup trucks annually in the Southeast Asian country.

Two floating hotels expected to completed before SEA Games in Myanmar

Two floating hotels are currently under construction in Mandalay, the second-largest city in Myanmar, according to company sources. 

And they will be based on Ayeyawaddy River. The hotels will be catered to foreign visitors.  One of them is said to be a two-star three-story floating hotel, located near Mayangyan Port in the city. The other will be Karaweik-shaped, a similar design to Karaweik Hall on the eastern shore of Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon.

Thai company proposes to build 60 mw gas power plant in Dawei

Thai-based Admin Power & Utility Co Ltd has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Electric Power to build a 60 megawatt power plant in Dawei district that runs on natural gas from Zawtika gas project, officials from the company said yesterday.

As part of the 500 megawatt natural gas power plant project, the 60 megawatt power plant will be built within eight months to supply electricity to Dawei area after receiving permission from the ministry, according to the officials.

Max Myanmar approved to launch five-star Novotel Hotel in Yangon

Myanmar Investment Commission approved Max Myanmar Group to launch the construction of the five-star Novotel Hotel in Yangon under the citizenship investment law.

The five-star hotel, that is to be set up on the 3.295-acre land in Kamayut Township, will be designed by Singapore-based IIDA International Design Pte Ltd and Vietnam-based AA Corporation will make its make interior design and decoration, according to Max Myanmar.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Foreign investment in Myanmar surges; office rents sizzle

YANGON--Myanmar has approved more foreign direct investment in the past five months than all of last year, but companies setting up operations in the hot frontier market face a growing problem: Southeast Asia's highest office rental rates.

Myanmar has approved FDI projects worth more than $1.8 billion from the start of the fiscal year on April 1 to the end of August, compared with $1.4 billion in the whole previous fiscal year, Aung Naing Oo, a director general at the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, told Reuters.

Myanmar's Interests Closely Intertwined With Thailand, Says Country's Defence Chief

NAY PYI TAW, Sept 20 (BERNAMA-NNN-MNA) -- The Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has stressed the need for Myanmar and Thailand to pay special attention to relations between their armed forces.

During a call on Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Governmental House in Bangkok on Tuesday, he said the heads of the two countries should pay special attention to the bilateral High Level Committee as being the most crucial for the relations between the armed forces of the two countries.

Myanmar: Pros and cons of investing in the region's last frontier market

My visit to Myanmar about a year ago, including inspection of raw land, office buildings, serviced apartments and hotels, reminded me of when I first started working with CBRE Thailand 25 years ago. The key difference is that I now have a thorough knowledge of the property market, whereas in 1988 I was still new to the industry.

It was interesting to explore the market, trying to understand the key locations in Yangon and with the information available, predict where the prime development locations would be and how Thai and other foreign developers might influence the market.

Burma Military Chief Discusses Dawei Project with Thai PM

RANGOON — Burma’s military chief met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier this week in Bangkok, where they reportedly discussed border narcotics issues as well as investment projects, including the multi-million dollar Dawei deep-sea port project.

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces, also attended a meeting in the Thai capital with high-ranking Thai military officials. He was accompanied by Burmese military officials including Gen Hla Htay Win, chief of the general staff of Burma’s armed forces.

Major US Companies Slow to Report Burma Investments

RANGOON — More than two months after the United States published the first reports by American companies investing in Burma, big name brands such as Cisco, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Visa remain absent from the filings, which are posted on the website of the US Embassy in Burma.

Corruption issue raised in tender process for Yangon airport upgrade

Questions are being raised about corruption in the process to select the tender winner for the upgrade of Yangon International Airport following the release of scorecards by the experts who were hired to evaluate the bidders.

Local company Pioneer Aerodrome Services Consortium, a subsidiary of the conglomerate Asia World Company, was declared the tender winner on August 9. Criticism arose among some of the international bidders when the scorecards by the Japanese experts emerged earlier this month.

Japan to enter Myanmar’s property and construction industries

A business delegation from Japan arrived in Nay Pyi Taw on September 17 to discuss investment in Myanmar’s property and construction industries with officials from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

The delegation was led by Mr. Shin Hnoto, deputy director of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT).

Locally-owned four-star hotel to be built in Yangon

A local company will soon build and operate a 500-room four-star hotel in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

Taw Win Family Construction was allowed to build the hotel on Pyay Road upon MIC’s approval.

S Korean leading conglomerate enters Myanmar’s construction industry

SK Group, one of the five largest conglomerates in South Korea, has entered the construction industry in Myanmar, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

DICA approved SK Group Construction (Myanmar) Co Ltd on September 13, making it the latest Korean firm to enter Myanmar so far. Other South Korean firms such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and POSCO have already stepped into the Myanmar market.

World’s largest food company enters Myanmar

Switzerland-based Nestle, the largest food company in the world in terms of revenues, will soon build a factory and manufacture its products in Myanmar according to DICA.

Nestle Myanmar Co Ltd was formed upon the permission of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) on September 16.

More natural gas power plants on the way to meet dry season demand, says ESB

Electricity suppliers will be turning more to natural gas, rather than hydro power, as increasing rates of consumption boost demand for megawattage during the dry season, according to the Yangon City Electricity Supply Board.

Currently, Myanmar produces 3,300 mega-watts of electricity annually. That rate is reduced to half during the dry season, because the country relies mostly on hydroelectric power. 

Myanmar revenue department announces top 100 taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Department announced the list of the top 100 commercial and income tax payers for the 2012-2013 fiscal year on September 14. 

Kanbawza Bank Limited stood at the top of the list of 100 income tax payers while Myanmar Brewery Limited was ale first in top 100 commercial tax payers, according to the report.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Myanmar Eyes Success In Joint Dawei Investment With Thailand

BANGKOK, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- Myanmar is eyeing for successful investment with Thailand in projects related to the development of its Dawei deep seaport, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Myanmar's Supreme Commander, General Min Aung Hlaing, on Tuesday conveyed the message from Myanmar's President Thein Sein, during a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra at Bangkok's Government House.

Bagan, Myanmar's Land Of A Million Pagodas

BAGAN (Myanmar), (Bernama) -- No visit to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, can be considered complete unless one has been to Bagan, a land famous for its panoramic beauty, ancient pagodas and temples, and consequently a key tourist draw.

Once known as Pagan, Bagan was the capital of the first kingdom that was founded in mid-to-late 9th century, and then unified various regions between the 9th and 13th century, a union that finally came to constitute the country that we all know as modern Myanmar.

Local infrastructure developer eyes IZ development in Myanmar

Ho Chi Minh City-based C.T Group has submitted the plans to develop Vietnam – Myanmar Industrial Zone (IZ) in a recent meeting with H.E. Nyan Tun - Vice President of Myanmar, according to a local newspaper.

The IZ will accommodate many Vietnamese manufacturers, since it will offer them “the opportunities to expand the commodity market into Myanmar by directly relocating production facilities to this industrial zone,” the Naypyidaw-based New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

Investors in Burma Telecom Sector Face ‘Corrupt, Crony Practices’: Report

A tangled web of cronyism and corruption awaits foreign telecom companies investing in the development of Burma’s mobile telephone network, an international business risks report warns.

The state-controlled Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), which will oversee the development, “appears to have preferential arrangements” with a clutch of Burmese businesses linked either to current influential politicians or the former military regime, said Maplecroft, a UK-based research and strategic forecasting company.

Myanmar Markets Coming -Torstone Technology to Power Post Trade Processing of New Exchange

Back in February, Mario Singh, Director of Training and Education at FXPRIMUS, expressed his opinions on the Southeast Asian market. One country he focused on was Myanmar. At the time, Singh stated that, “The hot story for Southeast Asia now, is undoubtedly Myanmar. The country has attracted considerable attention since its government decided to pursue economic reforms, and sanctions have begun to ease on the country. Foreign investors, not just companies, but also countries, are eager to establish a foothold in Myanmar’s potentially untapped resources, both in the ground and the people.”  He added that specifically Japan, was taking a leading role in investing in the country.

Myanmar's state-backed telcos seek backing to take on new rivals

(Reuters) - Myanmar's two state-backed telecommunications operators are seeking investors to put in more than $1 billion as they prepare to compete with foreign newcomers, Norway's Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo .

Telenor and Ooredoo won the bidding for two new licences in June to provide telecoms services in the country but are still waiting for final approval, expected this month, so they can start building their networks.

Myanmar 'set to build on gains'

Myanmar is confident that its competitiveness will improve next year as it capitalises on its reforms and its assets such as human resources, according to presidential economic adviser Zaw Oo.

The challenge, however, is not how to make a big jump in its global competitiveness ranking, but how to sustain the progress it has made, he said.

Myanmar makes efforts in developing maritime education

YANGON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has been making efforts in developing maritime education sector in a bid to contribute towards modernization and development of the state.

The country established its first Maritime University in 2002, aimed at nurturing ethical, skillful and reputable maritime experts in compliance with the provisions and standards prescribed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Horse-drawn carriage use drops in Pyin Oo Lwin

With the growing popularity of motorbikes and other motorized vehicles in Pyin Oo Lwin, the use of horse-drawn carriages—a trademark of this Mandalay Region town—is on the decline, say carriage drivers.

In 2003, there were 153 such carriages in Pyin Oo Lwin. But in ten year’s time that number has gone down by more than half, with only 62 horse-drawn carriages in local circulation now. Carriage drivers are increasingly relying on foreign travelers and domestic visitors, rather than local townsfolk, to earn a living. The estimated cost for a horse and carriage can range from K500,000 to K1.2 million.

Myanmar to turn railway head office to five-star hotel

YANGON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has planned to turn its Railways Head Office in Yangon to an international five-star hotel, in efforts to contribute to the development of tourist industry, tourist circle said on Wednesday.

The rare five-star hotel in Yangon, upon completion, will have 154 suites with 450 staff to run the services.

Train travel nearly doubles for foreign tourists

The number of foreign tourists travelling by train from Yangon Central Railway Station has nearly doubled since last year, according to the Ministry of Rail Transportation.

A total of 21,524 foreign tourists have travelled by train in Myanmar between January and August of this year, compared to just over 12,000 tourists during the same period last year.

Sanctioned Firms Listed Among Burma’s Top Taxpayers

RANGOON — A new listing of Burma’s top 100 corporate taxpayers has thrown up a few surprises, not least the appearance of several companies founded by some of country’s top tycoons—businessmen who remain blacklisted by the United States for links to the former military regime and, in some cases, over allegations of drugs trafficking and arms trading.
“Some of the companies were not included on last year’s list so they inquired about this and have complied for this year,” said a senior official at Burma’s Internal Revenue Department (IRD), who asked not to be named.

Thai-Myanmar border towns agree to boost trade

RANONG, Sept 16 - Senior Thai and Myanmar provincial officials met today in this southern border city in an attempt to boost economic cooperation between the adjacent provincial cities.
Ranong governor Cherdsak Champathet hosted the meeting with his Myanmar counterpart U Kyaw Swar Tun, governor of Kawthaung, the Myanmar town adjacent to Ranong.

Over 260,000 foreign travelers visit Myanmar's world-known pagoda

A total of 269,851 foreign travelers visited Myanmar's world-known Shwedagon Pagoda  in the first eight months of 2013, up 29 percent from last year, according to the pagoda's Board of Trustees Monday.

During the period, visitors from Thailand topped with 45,282.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

MAI Helps Burma’s High Flyers Get Private Jets

Burma’s international flag carrier airline, Myanmar Airways International (MAI), is looking to help local entrepreneurs and companies to use private jets to fly into and out of Rangoon’s airport, according to a statement Monday. MAI said it held a ceremony on Sept. 5 to present the Gulfstream Business Jet G450 to businesses who may wish to buy or rent such jets, with MAI offering services and access to its facilities at the airport. “In fact, MAI is now discussing upon offering any related services and maintenances of those buyers and borrowers needs and wants,” the statement said.

source: The Irrawaddy

Myanmar to start thermal power plant construction

Myanmar will start construction of a thermal power plant soon to supply power to planned Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), official media reported Monday.

The thermal power plant project, which lies in Yangon region's Thakayta township, will start on over 20 hectares as the first phase by the end of this year and is set to complete in December 2014.

Buying into Myanmar’s growth story

FOLLOWING the wave of foreign investments into emerging markets, Myanmar presents long-term opportunities for investors, particularly from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia.

More and more multinational corporations (MNCs) are buying into the potential growth story of Myanmar, given its rich resources in gas, land and minerals, its strong agriculture sector and low-cost labour force. As foreign economic sanctions are slowly being undone, MNCs are keen to explore investment opportunities within this golden land and big names such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Mitsubishi want to secure their positions in this new market.

Myanmar to investors: more reform ahead

KAN ZAW, Myanmar's minister of national planning and economic development, said last week that the government's medium- and long-term reforms would ensure the creation of an investment-friendly climate and keep up with Asean and international norms and standards.

Virasak Sutanthavibul, senior executive vice president of Bangkok Bank, said the Myanmar government should consider liberalising the financial industry so that foreign banks can form joint ventures with local banks, as 95 per cent of transactions are in cash.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Enter Myanmar with care: Piya

FOREIGNERS DOING businesses in Myanmar should not believe everything they hear, especially if it sounds too good to be true, said Piya Sosothikul, executive director of Seacon Group, manufacturer of Nangyang footwear and Thai Churos monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Some industries do not need to be the first movers, but can just wait and observe, Piya said.

Myanmar to upgrade Muse border point as int'l gateway: minister

Myanmar is planning to upgrade and open the existing Muse border point with China's Ruili as an international entry and exit gate as the second phase of boosting tourism following those with Thailand, Myanmar Minister of Immigration and Population U Khin Yi told Xinhua at a press conference here Sunday.

"It can be possible within two to three months ," Khin Yi said.

Officials from Ministry of Industry, Myanmar Investment Commission, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Transport and Major Cement Players to Convene at 15th Asia Cementrade Summit in Yangon

15th Asia Cementrade Summit, on the 24-25 Sep, 2013 in Yangon, is honored to host Government Officials from Ministry of Industry, Myanmar Investment Commission, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Transport and cement industry players, in an information-packed event, presenting valuable updates on the upcoming cement market opportunities in Asia. His Excellency U Maung Myint, Union Minister of Industry, Ministry of Industry, Myanmar has been invited to deliver the keynote address.

Myanmar should prep for US GSP

Myanmar's exporters ought to be preparing for the country’s inclusion into the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) list in the near future, said Marideth Sandler, CEO of Sandler Trade LLC.

The US imported some US$8 million in goods from Myanmar in the first half of 2013, of which some $400,000 would potentially be GSP-eligible, she said at a Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) seminar last week.

Myanmar trade on thin ice

Thai businesses must be ready to seize Myanmar's new opportunities by late 2015, when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will kick off, or they will be squeezed out of the market by Japan and China, say experts.

Nitivadee Manitkul, the Foreign Ministry's director of economic relations and cooperation, said Thailand's private sector currently lacks the knowledge to take advantage of the trade agreements or operate effectively in Myanmar.

Myanmar listing goes to SGX

Singapore is emerging as the equity market of choice for Myanmar-related financings, as the planned launch of the Myanmar stock exchange looks likely to be delayed from its original target date of 2015.

The US$100m–$200m IPO of Toyo Thai Power Holdings, the Myanmese subsidiary of Thailand-based engineering company Toyo-Thai Corp, is looking to list in Singapore before the end of 2014.

Myanmar Facing Massive Inflation Before Economy Really Gets Going

A short piece by Agence France-Presse (AFP) run in the Straits Times yesterday, buried amidst the big international stories on Syria and the stand-off in the Philippines and others, caught my attention. The short piece, titled “Poor and Homeless in Costly Yangon” discussed how, because of Myanmar’s political and economic opening, and the lack of quality office and apartment and factory space in Yangon, rents for any decent property have soared through the roof.  

Electricity shortage delays Japanese investment in production sector

Power shortage and constant blackout have hampered Japanese investors' productivity, according to JETRO Executive Managing Director Mr. Masaki Takaha.

He added that the lack of productivity has had detrimental affect on employment and job creation. The point was raised at the Myanmar Global Investment Forum held in capital of Myanmar on September 10-11.

Chibwaynge Power Plant to sell power to Kachin State

Chibwayage power plant from China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) will start distribute power to Kachin State before the end of this year.

There are three 33.3 megawatt power plants in Chipbwaynge. It can produce 99.9 Mega Watt and before the end of October, the first power plant will be commissioned into service.

Apple’s first authorized store to be launched in Yangon

Apple’s first authorized reseller in Myanmar, ‘mDrive’ will this month open an Apple store on the first floor of Junction Mawtin Shopping Centre in Yangon, according to mDrive owner Myat Htoo.

Until now, Apple products have entered the country through the grey market, especially from Singapore and Thailand.

Myanmar approves new foreign investments in power and garment sectors

Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) gave approval to some new foreign businesses to carry out hundred-percent foreign investments in power production and garment manufacturing.

Singapore-based power companies, UPP Holdings Ltd and UPP Greentech Pte Ltd, were given approval for producing and selling electricity as wholly-owned businesses at Ywama power station in Yangon Region.
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