Tips to Doing Business in Myanmar
Myanmar makes history. Hidden for decades behind a dark Military smokescreen, the isolation finally became too much…for the children and families of the now wealthy Generals, if not for this semi-Hermit dictators themselves.
The election of its new president, Htin Kyaw, a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi who in spite of her National League for Democracy's, huge victory in both legislative bodies, has been barred from taking on the presidency because of her marriage to a foreigner. This is a stipulation in the junta-era constitution. Obe reason is as good as another if you don’t want something to happen…and a clear victory for Suu Kyi was just too much for the Generals to stomach.
Htin Kyaw is the first civilian to serve as president in Myanmar for decades now. In a speech given after his victory, he called this Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory and claimed he was simply a legal surrogate.
Htin Kyaw has not really stood for political office before but nevertheless, there is much rejoicing in the country.
With Myanmar moving towards becoming a democratic state again, investors have been flocking to the country. In 2013-2014, Myanmar registered an 8.5 % increase in its GDP.
With the last of the sanctions removed, the country has taken strides on trade liberalisation and foreign investment management. With its resources of timber, mineral and gems as well as natural gas, Myanmar is set to an unprecedented growth.
Myanmar's clothing industry in 2016 earned more than $940 million. Such increase has been attributed to the rise in orders from Japan, Korea and the European Union. More than 400 clothing factories currently employ around 400,000 in Myanmar.
Now is the time to get in there. The challenges are still steep but the opportunities await. The Chinese Government is again shifting its acquisitive eyes and hoping to get electricity from dams that have the environmental attractiveness of coal fired plants!
Here are a few tips from those who have taken the steps for western Entrepreneurs wanting to join the game:
1. Take on local partners. They can take you through the hurdle of local politics and challenges
2. Respect the culture. Not only is the culture different, Myanmar has had limited contact with the outside world for decades and is only now in the process of developing laws and infrastructure to provide for the comforts easily enjoyed in neighbouring countries but this is to be expected.
3. Plan long-term not just take short term gains. Establish a foothold, establish contacts, build connections, do research and know more of the country and its people. Plan to be in Myanmar for long.
There is much to be gained in the country for those who plan not just to exploit it but to be its partner. The persistence of Facebook in China is a good model of patience and persistence.
With many foreigners ready to invest in Myanmar, there is no slowdown to this country’s maintaining its stride as the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia.