Business Roundup (February 11)

By The Irrawaddy 11 February 2017

Survey Sheds Light on Business Sector

A wealth of new data about Burma’s business sector was made available this week with the publication of the Myanmar Business Survey.

The report produced by the Central Statistics Office and the United Nations Development Program sheds light on the characteristics of the private sector in Burma and on constraints faced by businesses.

Almost 15,000 businesses across the country were surveyed in 2015, making the report the most comprehensive survey of private businesses to date.

There is little diversification still in Burma’s private sector, the report—which is available here—shows.

In the manufacturing sector, the vast majority of businesses produce food products, beverages and tobacco products.

In the services arena, more than half of businesses are similarly engaged in food and beverage activities.

The economy is dominated by businesses with fewer than 10 workers, the survey reveals.

The survey also shows that food and beverage services sector has the lowest salaries and the highest amount of hours worked. Jobs in professional, scientific and technical activities garner the highest salaries.

Labor productivity remains low in Burma compared to other Asian countries, the survey says, with the highest per worker value found in the trade sector, followed by manufacturing.

The report said that it was hoped that the data would enhance knowledge of Burma’s private business sector and its contribution to economic growth and development. The report could also help with the design of evidence-based policies for improved private sector development, it said.

US Tech Firm Opens Office in Rangoon

US tech firm Diebold Nixdorf announced the opening of an office in Rangoon this week,
The Nation in Bangkok reported.

The firm has operated through partners in Burma to supply ATMs to banks for some years, but the opening of a dedicated office would allow it to serve customers better, said Neil Emerson, senior vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific.

“Our local office will enable us to build a closer relationship with our customers,” he said.

The firm would cater to the needs of banks in Burma as they expanded services within and beyond major cities, he said. It could also supply new retailers coming into the market, he added.

Diebold Nixdorf has about 70 percent of the market share in ATM machines in Burma, the firm’s country manager Piers Leach said.

Customers include leading banks such as KBZ, Aya, CB, AGD and UAB.

The firm could also supply new retailers coming into the market, including shopping malls, convenience stores, grocery shops and gas stations, Leach added.

The firm employs 30 staff in Burma.

Burma Teams Up With Thailand on Tourism Promotion

Burma and Thailand have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the two countries as one destination as part of an upcoming tourism marketing campaign.

The campaign will be launched at the International Tourism Bourse, the world’s top travel trade show, in Berlin in Germany from March 8-12.

The agreement was co-signed this week by Daw May Myat Mon Win, Vice Chairperson of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, and Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia & Pacific) of Thailand.

Myanmar Start Group Signs MoU With Thai Firm

The Myanmar Start Group has signed an MoU with plastic packaging manufacturer TPBI Plc from Thailand with an eye to building a factory geared towards exports, The Bangkok Post reported.

The two firms will carry out a feasibility study to expand the plastic packaging sector in Burma and to produce environmentally friendly products, according to TPBI’s chief finance officer Kamol Borrisuttanakul.

The study would cover appropriate machinery, the regulatory environment and potential partners to start or expand production facilities, Kamol said.

“This MoU will enhance our ability to work together with our partner to analyze business opportunities, production costs and plastic packaging trends in Myanmar and look into the possibility of creating a production base to export to other countries across the world,” Kamol said.

The study is due to be completed by March.

SMI Signs Deal Qith Shiseido

Singapore Myanmar Investco (SMI) has signed an agreement to be the exclusive distributor of Shiseido cosmetic and skin care products in Burma, Dealstreet Asia reported.

The Singapore-listed SMI has mainly invested in the duty-free retail, food and beverage and auto services in Burma. Its partners the Crystal Jade Group, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Japanese ramen chain IPPUDO.

Last year SMI divested its telecom tower operations to Shining Star International Holdings in Hong Kong.