The Irrawaddy

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup (May 20)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attend the welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing, China May 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RTX35RP0

Rangoon Food Delivery Firm Gets Boost

Rangoon-based food delivery business Food2U has received a six-digit sum in seed capital from three individual local investors to aid its expansion plans.

The investors are from the real estate sector and include U Nay Min Thu, founder of iMyanmarHouse.com, Dealstreet Asia reported.

The company was founded by U Kyaw Myo Thet who holds the majority share in the business, followed by U Nay Min Thu and director Ma Yi Mon Han, according to the report.

U Nay Min Thu told DealStreet that the investment values the company at US$1.5 million. The new financing would help the company to form exclusive partnerships with more restaurants and expand to new areas, including Mandalay, he said.

The service focuses mainly on local consumers and has enrolled about 120 restaurants in Rangoon. It carries out about 5,000 deliveries a month. Annual revenue is expected to be about $700,000 this financial year, according to the report.

Telenor Expands Stakes in Digital Ads

Norwegian telecoms company Telenor is expanding its footprint in the regional digital advertising industry, including in Burma, with two separate deals reported.

The global telecoms giant entered an agreement with international media company Schibsted to divest from a joint venture with the firm in Latin America and buy Schibsted’s stakes in the Burma, Malaysia and Vietnam markets, according to VietnamNet.

In the second deal, Telenor inked a $110 million agreement with Singapore Press Holdings to buy shares in advertising online sites in Burma, Malaysia and Vietnam, according to the Vietnam News.

When all the deals are finalized, Telenor will hold a 100 percent stake in e-commerce site OneKyat in Burma, Mudah in Malaysia, ChợTốt in Vietnam and ImSold in Malaysia and Vietnam, according to Vietnam Net.

ChợTốt is one of the leading digital ad markets in Vietnam, the Vietnam News said. It was launched in 2012 and Telenor representatives have been on the board of the company’s holding vehicle, 701Search, since the following year. ImSold, the second company now wholly owned by Telenor, had the same ownership structure but is targeted at different customers.

Telenor is one of the world’s largest telecom groups with revenue of $15.3 billion in 2016 and is owned mainly by the Norwegian government.

Last year it announced a plan to set up a separate unit to tap into Asia’s mobile advertising market.

Phandeeyar Gets New CEO

The Rangoon-based tech hub Phandeeyar has appointed a new chief executive officer (CEO).

Jes Kaliebe Petersen is the tech-hub’s current accelerator director and will take up the new position in July, replacing founder and current CEO David Madden who will focus on long-term strategy as president and chair of Phandeeyar’s board.

Madden said, “Jes has already shown the big impact that he can have on the tech ecosystem, running Myanmar’s first-ever startup Accelerator, launching Founder Institute Yangon and organizing the country’s biggest startup competition.”

Petersen has more than a decade of experience as an entrepreneur working with mobile technology in emerging markets. Before moving to Burma, he founded Paywast, Afghanistan’s largest social network, and he founded a mobile marketing and tech company in India, according to Phandeeyar.

Thilawa to Offer Space for Small Operations

Small rental factory spaces are to be made available at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, in a bid to attract small and medium size enterprises to the location.

The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the spaces in the 2,400-hectare zone, the Japan Times reported.

The OCCI is comprised of businesses around Osaka in Japan and the move will add “diversity to the tenant base,” according to Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development.

The rental spaces will be 500 to 750 square meters in size.

More than 95 percent of Thilawa’s Zone A is occupied, the report said. A total of 78 companies, including 39 from Japan, have committed to operating at the site. Their combined total investment amounts to more than $1 billion. Of the total, 24 companies have already begun operations.

Zone B of the zone is slated for completion by the middle of next year.

New Holland Agriculture to Deliver 600 Tractors

Burma is due to receive 600 tractors to help boost crop production and modernize agricultural production.

The equipment will be delivered by leading international agriculture equipment firm New Holland Agriculture, under a project of the agriculture ministry, a trade journal reported. The 75-horsepower and 90-horsepower tractors will come from New Holland’s manufacturing plants in India and Turkey.

New Holland worked on the deal with its Rangoon-based subsidiary CPCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yoma Strategic Holdings. The firm will also provide trainings in the use and maintenance of the tractors.

Yoma Bank is offering farmers a financing option for the tractors based on a 10 percent down payment with the balance payable at six monthly intervals over three years.

U Soe Hlaing, director general of the agriculture ministry, said, “The delivery of 600 tractors will take us another step forward in Myanmar’s wide-reaching agricultural modernization program. This project will play an essential part in improving our country’s crop quality, crop yields, and food security.”

The agriculture sector contributes 38 per cent of Burma’s gross domestic product, accounting for 25 to 30 per cent of total export earnings, according to the report.

MoU signed with China for Northern Economic Zone

Burma signed a memorandum of understanding for an economic cooperation zone on the Burma-China border during the visit of the State Counsellor to the One Belt, One Road forum in China last week.

The zone is likely to link Houqiao port in Tengchong county, Yunnan Province, and Kan Pike Tee port in Kachin State, Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

Zhao Jianglin, an expert on Southeast Asia affairs at the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the paper that the project would increase border trade and provide job opportunities. It would encourage Chinese companies to invest in the fruit industry, including banana production, in the region, Zhao said.

The zone may strive to develop the manufacturing industry, especially labor-intensive industries such as textiles, electronics and component manufacturing, Zhao added.

Titan Petrochemicals Entering Burma

Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed ship builders and commodity traders Titan Petrochemicals will form a joint venture with the Yunnan Investment Group (YIG) to promote an oil refinery project in Burma and develop other businesses in tourism, energy, rail and finance, according to a company statement.

Titan Petrochemicals is seeking to diversify its portfolio into downstream aspects of the oil business.

Its subsidiary Surplus Plus will take 49 percent of the joint venture in Burma while YIG will hold 51 percent.

YIG is the investment vehicle and financing platform of the Yunnan Provincial Government. It is involved in diverse industries including energy, railways, finance, information, tourism, agriculture, forestry and health care.

The Titan Petrochemicals statement did not identify the location of the refinery.