Aug 18, 2022

Foreign company looking for Myanmar buyer of quality tobacco leaves

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Aug 2, 2022

Myanmar garment industry draws fresh investment from Japan's Honeys

 TOKYO -- Japanese apparel maker Honeys Holdings breaks ground on a third factory in Myanmar this month, aiming to make over half of its products in the low-cost Southeast Asian manufacturing hub.

The 16,000-square-meter plant will sit alongside one of the company's existing workshops in Mingaladon Industrial Park outside Yangon. Honeys plans to invest about 1.5 billion yen ($11.3 million) in the project over the two fiscal years through May 2024.


Jul 22, 2022

Cyprus-based investment fund is looking for great buyout targets among the Myanmar microfinance institutions

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Jun 9, 2022


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ATOM to spend big on Myanmar 5G launch

 ATOM, the operator formerly known as Telenor, has unveiled plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Myanmar in the coming years, one of its goals being to launch the market’s first 5G service.

ATOM, or Advancing Telecommunications of Myanmar, to give it its full title, officially launched in Myanmar on Wednesday. The company came into being as a result of Telenor’s decision to pull out of the market amidst security issues stemming from last year’s military coup. It brokered a deal to sell the business to Lebanon-based investor M1 Group, but the authorities required that the operator be held in local hands, so M1 brought in conglomerate Shwe Byain Phyu as its new majority owner. The sale from Telenor closed in late March, but all parties are working together to ensure continuity of service.

While Telenor clearly felt it was unable to continue operating in Myanmar, ATOM’s launch comes with a heavy note of optimism.

The operator said it intends to spend US$330 million over a three-year period to future-proof its network, transform business, create jobs and nurture local talent. It also shared its ambition to be the first to commercially launch 5G in Myanmar, although understandably it has not attached a specific timeframe to that goal. It will happen “in coming years,” it said.

“ATOM is founded on the belief that everyone should have access to essential telecommunications services especially during challenging times,” said Muhammad Ziaullah Siddiqui, Chief Executive Officer of ATOM. “Our vision is to propel Myanmar with advanced connectivity so people can experience life beyond better,” he said. “Myanmar’s digitalisation has been astonishing thus far but more is yet to come!”

Indeed. The global telecoms industry watched with interest as Mynamar, one of the world’s last untapped telecoms opportunities, auctioned off mobile operating licences in 2013 and welcomed Telenor and Zain to the market the following year. Launching mobile services was not plain sailing for either company, due to having to learn the ropes in an unfamiliar market, but they got there and the future looked bright. The private providers were later joined by a pair of state-owned operators and mobile phone ownership and usage boomed in Myanmar.

As we now know, it was to be relatively short-lived, with the coup of early 2021 bringing restrictions on usage and operating difficulties for the telcos, to put it mildly. ATOM will face different challenges to those encountered by Telenor the best part of a decade ago, but, as Siddiqui pointed out, there will certainly be challenges.

However, as you would expect, at launch the telco is focusing on the positives. In addition to talking up its various voice and data packages, and its app store, ATOM is highlighting customer care, noting that it is operating free call centres 24/7, and forthcoming deals, rewards, and new services. It has also pledged to spend 3 billion kyat, or around US$1.6 million, between now and end-2023 on CSR projects in areas including healthcare, education, and humanitarian aid for underserved communities.

But while that’s all good news for the people of Myanmar, the big test of ATOM’s success in the market will be its ability – or indeed otherwise – to launch 5G.

The company’s Chief Operating Officer Ahmad Abdallah is making noise about the emerging digital technologies that will be facilitated by 5G, naming machine learning and the metaverse in particular.

“Digitally shared universes are no longer a futurist’s dream. Myanmar should not have to wait too long to experience and enjoy the benefits of 5G,” he said.

Myanmar’s e-visa makes a comeback

Commercial flights for business travelers resumed in April and airlines based in Southeast Asia serve Yangon mainly from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Cambodia, Myanmar expedite trade deals

 Cambodia and Myanmar are in the process of expediting negotiations on two important draft agreements in a bid to swiftly increase trade cooperation with each other, citing low bilateral trade volume.

During a meeting between the leaders of the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce and the Myanmar Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations in Indonesia on May 18, Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak called for the two sides to increase discussions on economic and trade progress “within the regional and bilateral frameworks aimed at boosting trade volume and boosting economic recovery”.

Aung Naing Oo, Myanmar Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, agreed, adding that the recent negotiations by Cambodia on the establishment of bilateral free trade agreements with China and South Korea were a sign of the Cambodian government’s success in building and expanding trade partnerships.

He said that negotiations on the draft Cambodia-Myanmar investment agreement and the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between the two countries were being expedited “so that they can be signed in the near future”.

In the meeting, Sorasak also expressed his gratitude to Myanmar for supporting Cambodia as chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting earlier this year.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that the two agreements would facilitate trade between the two countries, which, in spite of Myanmar’s continued battle with Covid-19 and its internal political crisis, would be beneficial to the two countries.

He added that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement will make it easier for investors to pay taxes, which is an important factor that would attract more cross-border investors.

“Although the trade volume between Myanmar and Cambodia is still limited, this agreement will help boost trade between Cambodia and Myanmar,” he said.

“As ASEAN members, we and Myanmar have always facilitated trade with each other. So if these two agreements materialise, especially the agreement on avoiding double taxation, it will be easier for investors in both Cambodia and Myanmar.”

According to a commerce ministry report, bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Myanmar “in the three years prior to the Covid-19 crisis” totalled just $20 million.

Annual bilateral trade between the two countries has remained tilted in Myanmar’s favour, increasing slightly more than twofold between 2019 and 2020 to $28.2 million, according to Trading Economics.

Cambodian imports from and exports to Myanmar in 2020 were to the tune of $24.93 million and $3.27 million, respectively, the latter of which dipped marginally from 2019.

The latest figures on the statistics website indicate that in 2020, “miscellaneous chemical products” accounted for $0.58585 million or about 17.9 per cent of Cambodia’s exports, while “tobacco and manufactures tobacco substitutes” made up $22.22 million or over 89 per cent of the Kingdom’s imports.