Feb 27, 2015

City Mart Director Listed in Forbes’ Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen

Forbes Magazine has listed Myanmar businesswoman Win Win Tint, managing director of Myanmar’s largest retailer City Mart Holdings, in its fourth annual Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen list.

The list appeared in the March issue of Forbes Asia.

“Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen list showcases a year of accomplishments by the region’s female entrepreneurs and executives,” the magazine said. “To make the list, candidates have to be active in the upper echelons of the business world in Asia, wield significant power and have access to robust financial resources.”

It is the first time that a Myanmar businesswoman is included in the list.

Forbes said Win Win Tint, 39, “oversees 5,500 workers and says sales have grown 25 percent to 35 percent annually for the past 5 years, to near [US] $200 million.”

“Initially the family hired a professional manager for the business, but Win took over after three months and has steered the company for 18 years. She holds an accounting and business administration diploma from Singapore’s Thames Business School,” the magazine said of the female executive.

Forbes described City Mart as “a leading supplier to Myanmar’s stirring consumer market. From a single grocery store in 1996, the company has burgeoned to over 100 outlets, including 18 City Mart supermarkets, 7 huge Ocean Supercenters and 45 City Express Convenience stores, as well as bakeries, pharmacies, baby clubs and bookstores.”

The Irrawaddy included Win Win Tint in a top 10 of Myanmar women in the magazine’s December issue on ‘Movers and Shakers’ in 2014.

Source: The Irrawaddy

Google offers Gmail in Burmese language

Google is making Gmail a little more user-friendly for Internet users in Myanmar, and has introduced Burmese language support to the email service.

Once a secluded nation, Myanmar is witnessing a huge rise in Internet and mobile phone usage, following democratic reforms that have opened the country to the world.

“As a country of 53 million, Myanmar’s recent opening-up has triggered an explosion of people coming online,” said Google product manager Brian Kemler in a blog post discussing the Burmese language support.

The country has 2.6 million Internet users, up from only 500,000 back in 2011, due to the availability of more mobile phones, he added.

Gmail users wanting to switch to the Burmese language interface can do so through the settings page.

But even without the language support, Google’s email service has already proven to be extremely popular in Myanmar, according to local tech entrepreneurs.

“People don’t know what is email. They know it as Gmail. That’s how popular Gmail is,” said Htoo Myint Naung, CEO of Technomation, a mobile app developer.

Many residents have some basic English language skills, so using the service isn’t too difficult, said Thaung Su Nyein, CEO of Information Matrix, an IT services and media company.

The prevalence of Gmail in Myanmar partly has to do with online censorship. Before the democratic reforms in 2011, Myanmar’s then military government had banned all free email services, including those run by Yahoo and Microsoft.

But for some reason, the government left open partial access to Gmail, Thaung said. “Everything else was thoroughly blocked. If a non-email site had ‘webmail’ or ‘free email’ mentioned on the page, it was liable to be blocked too,” he added.

The Gmail interface was also minimal and loaded fast, making it easier to access over Myanmar’s slow Internet connections.

Thaung added that the Burmese language support could help local users get the most of Gmail’s different functions. “All in all, we welcome this with open arms,” he said. He hopes that Google and other tech companies will do more to ensure that their products can fully work in the country.

Source: PCWorld

Feb 26, 2015

Myanmar's largest international airport to open in 2020

Myanmar's largest international airport will be opened in 2020, a year later than scheduled, officials said Thursday.

According to the Department of Civil Aviation, Myanmar is seeking $700 million loan with low interest rate from Japan for the Hanthawaddy International Airport project in Bago region, Xinhua reported.

The $1.4-billion project will be built on 3,645 hectares of land where the Japanese army built an airport during the second World War.

About 77 km north-east of Yangon, the international airport, the country's fourth and largest of its kind, is projected to handle up to 12 million passengers a year and is set to become the primary gateway to Myanmar, drawing more direct international flights.

According to official data, the number of tourist arrivals to Myanmar has increased in the last few years -- 1.06 million in 2012, 2.04 million in 2013 and 3.05 million in 2014.

Source: Business Standard

New JV to Set Up $5-m Rice Mill in The Delta

Myanmar Rice Mill Company (MRMC), a joint venture company set up by Beijing-based China CAMC Engineering and Myanmar Millers Association, is going to launch a project to build an international standard rice mill in Myanmar’s delta region this year. The new mill is planned to be built on 7 acres of land in Sarr Ma Lauk village in Nyaung Toun township in Ayeyarwaddy region. The cost of the project is estimated between $5 and $7 million and the mill is expected to start operating in early 2017, said U Nay Lin Zin, managing director of MRMC. “We will help members of our association get connections with CAMC so that they can produce and export higher quality rice. We also have plans to help local mills employ modern equipment through accessing China-Myanmar (government to government) long-term loans and the Chinese bank that have won licence here,” he said. The mill, when finished, is expected to produce 200 tonnes of high-quality rice daily which can be exported to China, Japan and European countries among others, U Nay Lin Zin said. Negotiations are underway to build additional mills in Letpantan and Zeegon townships in Bago region, he added. Eighty percent of Myanmar’s currently operating mills are using outdated equipment, while there are only a few rice mills in Myanmar that can produce high-quality rice, according to the association. Most mills’ capacity is only about 15 tonnes per day. The local milling industry doesn’t have sufficient storage capacity, so during the harvest season a large volume of paddy is procured, milled and distributed in the market quickly. This causes rice prices to slump in the harvest season and spiral when the season is over. Source: Myanmar Business Today

Ministry of Electric Power invites consultants for 105 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant

Project is financed by the World Bank. For more information, please contact evi@myanmar-business.org

Shell Myanmar Energy to spend US$1.2 bn on offshore oil exploration

Shell Myanmar Energy is poised to spend US$1.2 billion on offshore oil and gas exploration and provide $61 million as a signature bonus to state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) , the Energy Ministry has announced. The company has the green light to run two sites (AD-9 and AD-11) in Rakhine State and one (MD-5) in Taninthayi Region. A contract on profit-sharing was signed with the Energy Ministry on February 5. Shell Myanmar Energy and Tokyo-based Mitsui Oil Exploration will conduct the exploration and undertake production under terms of the contract. It is estimated the three sites should take two years of study and another six for exploration. The social and environmental impact assessments are also included in this foreign investment joint venture. "Offering $61 million as signature bonus is a record since the amount has never been more than $6-7 million before," said Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, the chairperson of Myanmar Oil and Gas Services Society, a non-profit that aids in development of the Myanmar oil and gas industry. Eight out of 18 onshore blocks were permitted to six foreign companies through joint-venture agreements with local entrepreneurs in 2011. Another 18 onshore blocks were tendered in January 2013, and 16 of them allotted to 10 foreign companies through joint venture agreements. Source: Eleven Weekly Media

Feb 24, 2015

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