Apr 18, 2011

China overtakes Thailand as the biggest investor in Myanmar

China, already Myanmar's closest diplomatic ally, is now also the country's largest foreign investor, a report said Monday.

The Myanmar-language Weekly Eleven says that China poured more than $3 billion into the country from November last year through January this year, bringing its cumulative investment since 1988 to $9.6 billion, compared to Thailand's $9.56 billion.

Thailand had been the largest investor for the past seven years, mostly in the energy sector. Hong Kong is the third biggest investor, with $5.9 billion.

Monday's news report, citing an unnamed official from the Union of Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said China's major new investments were in hydropower projects.

Several of its large-scale hydropower projects have been criticized for allegedly uprooting thousands of people from their homes and harming the environment, hurting people's ability to make a living.

Another major Chinese investment is the Shwe natural gas project in Myanmar's western Rakhine State, which involves China importing gas from offshore Myanmar wells and oil from tankers from the Middle East through a 750-mile (1,200 kilometer) oil and gas pipeline.

Source: AP