Philips Links With Partners to Light Up Burma

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 26 November 2013

RANGOON — Dutch electronics giant Philips has teamed up with local partners to bring more of its products to Burma, as the brand looks to take advantage of the Southeast Asian nation’s growing demand for lighting.

In a ceremony in the former capital Monday, the 120-year-old firm signed up with three companies who will distribute its lighting products. Pahatma Group will supply the consumer market, while the service and commercial sectors will be served by JJ-Pun and Power Light, according to a statement.

Mieke De Schepper, general manager of Philips Lighting Singapore and Export, told reporters that the growing population in Rangoon meant demand for lighting would grow in the city. However, she warned, the already strained electricity infrastructure would be put under more pressure.

“As Myanmar develops and its urban populations grow, the current energy infrastructure will come under increasing pressure,” De Schepper said.

“A lot of foreign lighting companies [are entering] the local market, [the] country needs more electricity supply, tourists are more coming here, [there will be] a lot of demand in electricity.”

City officials expect Rangoon’s population to double to 10 million people by 2040. De Schepper said the growing commercial capital already consumes 45 percent of the power used in Burma, meaning it was imperative to find energy efficient solutions.

According to Rangoon Electricity Supply Board, Burma as a whole uses 1,500 megawatts of power, of which Yangon consumes 720MW.

She said that by switching from traditional light bulbs to energy efficient lighting, such as Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs, could reduce energy costs by US$9.7 million a year nationwide, and save 45 kilotons of CO2 yearly.

De Schepper said Philips had already begun re-establishing its brand among Burmese people, and aims to become a market leader. The company is in talks with the government about more project around Burma, she added.

Philips has also formed a partnership with the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and the conservation group the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) to improve the lighting of the city’s historic buildings.

The Dutch company is contributing $75,000 toward blue plaques to mark key heritage sites in the city, and has already provided lighting around downtown Rangoon’s Maha Bandoola Gardens, the heart of the former colonial district.