Business Roundup (February 25)
By The Irrawaddy 25 February 2017
Burma Must Double Tax Collections: IMF
The IMF has said that Burma must double its tax revenue collections from 7.5 percent of GDP to 15 percent of GDP to fund measures to sustain economic growth, according to Tax News.
Burma has one of the lowest effective tax burdens in the world. It has boosted revenue collection through efforts to improve administration, including by establishing a large taxpayer office in 2014, the IMF said in its Article IV report.
But Burma must continue to “tackle its tax system at a deeper level,” the IMF added. It recommended that authorities update tax legislation and in particular the income tax law, introduce anti-corruption measures, streamline tax exemptions and incentives, and further improve on tax administration, including by passing the draft Tax Administration Procedure Law.
China-Burma Tourism Event Set for Naypyidaw
More than 300 delegates from China will attend the First China-Burma Tourism Cooperation Forum to be held on March 1 in Naypyidaw.
The forum will be co-hosted by Burma’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the Chinese Embassy in Burma and the People’s Government of Yunnan Province.
Delegates from China will include participants from the CNTA, the China Tourism Association, local tourism administrations of Yunnan Province as well as tourism enterprises.
The event will include roundtable discussions, meetings between tourism enterprises from China and Burma, and promotion events for tourism products. Organizers hope to deepen cooperation between the two countries’ tourism industries and to facilitate greater border tourism and people-to-people exchanges.
Property Ad Site Raises Investment
A property ad website, ShweProperty.com, has raised a six-figure sum from institutional investors to expand its team and its marketing efforts, Dealstreet Asia reported.
The investors have substantial experience in developing online classifieds and property portals worldwide, it said.
ShweProperty.com, which is led by chief executive Justin Sway, gained a first round of seed funding in May 2015, which it reported was also a six-figure sum.
The portal said it has over 60,000 up-to-date premium property listings, connecting buyers and renters to sellers.
“The funds will be used to bolster the leadership team, drive sales and marketing efforts, build strong relationships with developers and agents, and increase product development to deliver more visibility and productivity services,” Sway said in an interaction with Dealstreet Asia.
Sway is also the CEO of JobNet.com.mm, and the two portals come under the venture umbrella of MMOne Online Co Ltd.
Yoma Mixed-Use Project Powers Ahead on Iconic Thoroughfare
The transformation of a key part of Rangoon’s Bogyoke Aung San Road is gathering pace with the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Yoma Central’s mixed-use hotel and development space on a 10-acre site at the intersection of Sule Pagoda Street.
Yoma Central’s $718 million project is led by two companies, the Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings and YSX-listed First Myanmar Investment Co.
The project, which was formerly known as Landmark Development, is located on the former headquarters of the Burma Railway Company.
“Yoma Central will help shape the face of new international Yangon, and that is ready and open for business,” Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic and FMI told Dealstreet Asia.
“Yoma Central will no doubt play a pivotal role in the city transformation into an international city,” he said during the groundbreaking ceremony in mid-February.
The project marks the largest foreign direct investment approved in the real estate sector in Burma, Dealstreet reported. It will feature a tower of luxury residences, two office towers, a Peninsula hotel and serviced residences approved for an investment of $574 million.
Yoma Strategic will hold a 48 percent stake; Mitsubishi companies will own 30 percent; FMI will own 12 percent; and the IFC and Asian Development Bank will control 5 percent each.
Regional Chinese Chamber of Commerce Opens in Naypyidaw
The De Hong Chamber of Commerce from De Hong county of China’s Yunnan province has opened a representative office in Naypyidaw aimed at boosting friendship, trade, cooperation in agriculture and livestock, and the transportation sectors, Xinhua reported.
The office will play a role as a bridge providing services to business people from both countries, Chinese Embassy councilor Chen Chen told the inaugural ceremony on Feb. 20. China has a desire to work for the development of its neighbor Burma, Chen Chen said.
The De Hong Chamber of Commerce also operates offices in Mandalay, Myitkyina, and Lashio in northern Burma.
Japanese Firms Launch Agricultural Machinery Business
Japanese diesel engine manufacturer Yanmar and Mitsui Operating announced the launch of a joint venture importing and selling agricultural machinery at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone this week.
Yanmar Myanmar, the wholly foreign-owned joint venture by the two Japanese giants was founded in March 2016. It currently employs 20 staff and has plans to add another 80 in the near future, according to a company statement.
Burma is experiencing a steady increase in demand for agricultural mechanization as well as strong economic development, according to the statement.
The new company has fully equipped service facilities, a large-scale parts center, education and training facilities for farmers and service workers, and a display room with enhanced hospitality features. It will be Burma’s “first multifunctional agriculture solutions center,” according to the report.
Phandeeyar Events Bolster Tech Entrepreneurs
The tech hub Phandeeyar has a number of events coming up in Rangoon. On March 3, graduates of its #accelerateMM program, local firms Demo Day, Chate Sat, GoP, EzStay and White Marek will pitch their products to Phandeeyar’s network of venture capital firms and angel investors. The event will be shared live on the e27 Facebook Page.
On Tuesday, March 7 at 6 p.m., Phandeeyar will organize a talk on how to make the jump from being a developer to an entrepreneur. Swan Htet Aung, CEO of MyanZen; Htoo Myint Naung, CEO of Technomation; and Shwe Yee, CTO of Chate Sat will talk about the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to become a full-fledged entrepreneur. Visit phandeeyar.org for more information.