Business Roundup

Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 8 August 2020

Myanmar’s economy turned towards recovery efforts this week amid the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and preparations for the coming November general election.

On Wednesday, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi instructed the Union Election Commission to ensure that citizens do not lose their right to vote as reports of mistakes in voter registration lists came in from across the country.

The State Counselor also instructed the Election Commission to implement COVID-19 preventative measures at polling stations in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

This week, Shwe Taung Real Estate Company announced they will build the country’s biggest mall in cooperation with Japan’s AEON Mall Co. Ltd following approval by the Myanmar Investment Commission.

Parliament approved a move to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for the Indo-Pacific, put forward by the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER).

Myanmar also approved more than US$400 million and 73.2 billion kyats (US$54 million) in investments.

Japan’s AEON to open largest mall in Myanmar

AEON Co. Ltd, one of Japan’s biggest commercial developers, will open Myanmar’s largest shopping mall in Yangon in cooperation with Myanmar real estate developer Shwe Taung Real Estate, according to a press release from Shwe Taung on Tuesday.

An US$180 million investment in the joint venture between the two companies was approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission on July 31, according to MIFER.

Shwe Taung will hold a 30 percent stake in the joint venture and AEON will hold 70 percent, according to Tuesday’s press release.

The shopping mall will be built on a 7.1 ha plot in Yangon’s Dagon Seikan Township.

The five-story mall will have 111,480 square meters of floor space and parking for 2,300 cars.

The mall is expected to be opened in 2023 and to create job opportunities for 2,300 people, the Myanmar Investment Commission said.

Myanmar to participate in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

On Wednesday, Myanmar’s Parliament approved a request from MIFER for the country to become a signatory member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement in the Indo-Pacific region between the 10 ASEAN member states.

According to the RCEP agreement, member countries will enjoy a 65 percent tax exemption on customs duties within the pact.

“Myanmar needs a master plan in making partnerships with countries that have stronger economies,” economic expert U Hla Maung told The Irrawaddy Thursday. “By participating in the RCEP, Myanmar’s economy—which has slowed during the pandemic—will improve beyond the pandemic.”

U Bharat Singh, deputy head of MIFER, said at Parliament that Myanmar will sign the RCEP agreement at the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit in November.

“In participating in the RCEP agreement, Myanmar would get a bigger market and high-standard investments would flow into the country” said the deputy minister.

More than US$400 million in investments approved

This week, the Myanmar Investment Commission approved US$462.7 million and 73.2 billion kyats (US$54 million) in investments, including for the expansion of seven existing investments and seven new investments.

The investments are focused on the industrial, housing, hotel and tourism and service sectors, according to an announcement from MIFER on July 31.

The approved investments included US$230.6 million from Singapore’s Sembcorp CSSD Myanmar Co. Ltd for the operation of the Hlegu Industrial Park in Yangon’s Hlegu Township.

The investments also included US$180 million for the joint venture between Japan’s AEON Co. Ltd and Myanmar’s Shwe Taung Real Estate that will open the country’s largest shopping mall.

The Myanmar Investment Commission said it expects that the investments will create jobs opportunities for more than 3,600 local people.

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