Four Int’l Business Conferences Planned in Rangoon

By The Irrawaddy 15 January 2013

RANGOON—A Singaporean company signed an agreement with Burma’s national chamber of commerce to organize four conferences this year on tourism, real estate, banking and finance, and transport. The events will offer local and international businessmen the chance to meet key Burmese government officials and international business executives active in these sectors.

The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) is working with SPHERE Conference—which calls itself “the leader in organizing business-to-business executive conferences in Asia”—to hold several three-day events in Rangoon.

SPHERE’s website says it will organize the Myanmar Hospitality and Tourism Conference on Feb. 26-28, the Myanmar Urban Development conferences on May 8-10, the Myanmar Banking and Finance Conference from May 27-29, and the Myanmar Logistics and Supply Chain Conferences from Sep. 16-18.

The upcoming conference is billed as “dedicated to deliver exciting opportunities offered by the new Myanmar. […] Government authorities, city planners, construction and infrastructure developers will be there to share plans, identify and explore new business initiatives in this developing market.”

SPHERE Chairman Chua Wee Phong said the events “aim to link international investors and the Burmese private sectors as well as government institutions, by holding the conferences on different sectors in the country.”

“From these conferences investors can get information to make the right decision for their valuable investment” in Burma, he said at a press conference on Friday.

Each conference offers a selection of international corporate executive speakers, while SPHERE’s website promises that visitors will meet officials from Burmese government ministries and departments, along with a host of companies, investors and consultants.

The cost of the attending the swank business affair: between US $2,095 and $2,712 for international participants, while local businessmen looking to rub shoulders with international executives and government officials pay $700 per person.

The planned conferences are the latest in a series of business events that have been held in Burma in recent months, which have been aimed at foreign companies eager for information about the country’s business potential following the lifting of international sanctions last year.

UMFCCI Joint Secretary Aung Khin Myint said he welcomed the surge in corporate interest in Burma, although he noted that some business consultants and analysts were using the wave of interest in Burma to market their own services.

“Some people will come here as a consultants and they will take money, even though they don’t know and understand the country’s situation. Other people will hold conferences and workshops in the country and they will charge high fees,” he said.

“Different people will find profits by using Burma in different ways. It doesn’t matter, other developing countries also suffered from that during their transition period,” Aung Khin Myint added.