Most countries have consumer guides for automobiles, electronics, housing, health, and various services. As Myanmar is unfamiliar with such consumer guides, Eleven Media recently interviewed Consumer Guide magazine’s chief editor Aung Myo Khin, on the position and principle of the magazine.
Q: Why did you choose to do a consumer guide for Myanmar, which is still attracting investment, and what kind of goals have you set for it?
A: I came back to Myanmar in November 2012 after studying and working in America for eight years. I saw a lot of changes here. There has been a lot of foreign investment in the business sector. There are now a lot of world brands. In the past, the people here may have chosen products by looking at advertisements or listening to advice from friends and secondary sources. But an accurate consumer guide has become necessary, as many consumer products are entering Myanmar. The most important thing is that a consumer guide should be different from one that’s translated from English. We will test products and write whether or not they are suitable for Myanmar, estimate possible outcomes and give our opinions. I have experience in working with top organisations abroad. I want to share this experience and knowledge.
Q: Before this magazine, you launched the Shwelone website. Given that online media has become stronger, why did you choose to launch a new product in print media?
A: Actually, the first step in our plan was not print media. Print media was the last step. We began on Facebook in June last year. In November, we launched our official website. And so, for our last step, we launched the magazine in January. So we are actually using all three: print, web, and social media. Although online media may be stronger, launching a print version is still regarded as a milestone in the media industry.
Q: Consumer Guide magazine is intended as a practical tool for users based on product testing. How do you plan to get all the products from the market?
A: In America, there is Consumer Report. It’s not a government organisation. But Consumer Report has the authority to make a manufacturer repair a product if it is found to have errors. They have a US$ 70 million (Ks 68.1 billion) yearly budget to test products. This organisation has been established since 1920. They may have faced many challenges to reach this situation at the start. Now, we are facing challenges to become more widespread. We need experts and budgets in order to criticise the products. However, we are trying as much as we can. We have contacted manufactures for the products that have entered the Myanmar market and tested the press samples given to us. When we are not able to receive press samples for some products, we test them in our own way. The mission of Consumer Guide is to do practical tests on the products and write our reviews.
Q: As your mission is a first for Myanmar, what are your expectations in terms of profits?
A: You have to take risks when doing business. But the important thing is how hard you will strive when taking these risks. I know financial profit is crucial for a business to be successful, but no medium can achieve financial profit without being well-known and accepted by the people. It may not happen immediately, but our magazine will be like those from other countries. We have worked hard on the presentation, style, and concept. In our magazine, we have also tried to reflect changing trends.
source: Eleven Myanmar