Mar 13, 2013

S'pore companies can help shape Myanmar's business landscape

By investing in Myanmar, Singapore companies can help shape the business landscape by sharing their know-how and introducing high-end quality products. That is the view of local firms already doing business in Myanmar or planning to do so.

High-end luxury condominiums could soon be a familiar sight in Myanmar, and Singapore property developer, Soilbuild, is one company that wants to ride on the investment wave flowing into Myanmar.

Daniel Ding, director of business development and investment at Soilbuild Group Holdings, said: "We think that it is one of Asia's last frontiers, whereby if you're an early mover, you can actually take advantage of the fact that you're going in and shaping the market."

Soilbuild believes that a luxury residential unit can be priced at US$300 and above per square foot, with a possible further 30 per cent increase during the entire property launch period.

From the design to the construction and sale of the project, Soilbuild plans to tie up with a local partner to develop luxury condominiums and service apartments in Yangon.

A sea of high-rise condominiums as well as office buildings may be a common sight in Singapore, but this is not the case in Myanmar. Observers said Myanmar is fast-growing and can expect a construction boom in the next year or so.

Singapore companies which are familiar with the landscape in Myanmar suggest that Singapore firms should get into the market within the next two years before it proves too late.

Hoping not to miss that window of investment opportunity is local company Pacific Tech, an IT distributor looking to set up an office in Myanmar later this year. But it does still harbour reservations about moving into Myanmar.

Andy Woo, regional sales director for Pacific Tech, said: "One of the reason could be the political situation. The good thing is that it's opening up very fast now but it's still a military government country. So a lot of people still have reservations on whether is the politics really that stable now, or what happened if its like Thailand -- a military coup? You may lose your investment overnight."

As more international companies base themselves in Myanmar, there will be a need for new infrastructure projects, as well as demands for more advanced equipment and IT devices.

Despite some lingering doubts, Pacific Tech said the potential opportunities are undeniable.

Mr Woo said: "It could be the second to Indonesia, in terms of the economy. And given the current economic status in US or Europe, a lot of focus is put into Asia. And especially in Southeast Asia now, the emerging countries are actually the booming ones like Indonesia -- after Indonesia, is Myanmar."

Companies said Myanmar nationals are also more receptive towards Singapore firms because the country has a reputation for offering quality products and for being trustworthy.



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