Japan and China buy land plots under Myanmar citizens’ ownership

YANGON—Japan and China have been using Myanmar citizen ownership to close recent purchases of high-rent land plots in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, real estate agency sources say.

“Currently, Chinese are buying buildings in the Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zone, doing business with local businessmen as usual. After the government fixed land prices based on square footage, dealings in the real estate sector almost stopped. For foreigners, rent is higher than last year for the Chinese. They were planning on renting space for the garment industry and storage for machinery. [Through purchase in the industrial zones] it may be assumed that Myanmar has opened business opportunities for foreigners,” said an unnamed staffer from Baho real estate’s agency.

The prices of land plots in Yangon’s real estate market are high compared to land plots in industrial zones. In the War Ta Yar industrial zone, land plots valued at about Ks 100 million in the past have shot up to between Ks 140 million and Ks 150 million.

“Our customers are mostly Japanese and Chinese. They are buying at the Shwe Lin Ban industrial zone. The renting is rather high in this year in industrial zones. The rental costs are high compared to previous years,” said Zin Wai Tun from Aung Thamar Di Company.

The government will seize land plots from companies that are not actually working in industrial zones and will give those plots to businessmen who will carry out projects there, Deputy Minister for Industry Thein Aung said during parliamentary proceedings on October 29. In some industrial zones in the city, the Yangon Region Industrial Zones Management Committee has warned landowners to construct factories as soon as possible.

In December, the committee for SME development will be inspecting the industrial zones to encourage the SME sector and will revise the regulations covering land cases in industrial zones, said Minister for Industry Maung Myint, who is the committee secretary.

“Land prices in industrial zones are getting higher and higher. The minister has said the government will seize the land if owners are not constructing factories there. But in reality, they have been saying this for a long time. When the vice president came to inspect the Hlinethaya industrial zone, he said the same thing,” noted Than Soe, a businessman from Hlinethaya industrial zone.

“Now they are talking about encouraging the SME sector. In fact, they have to seize the land from the owners who haven’t done anything or haven’t constructed factories. If they did things this way, the land prices in industrial zones would be lower. Nowadays, there are some land plots that have no fences. The authorities haven’t taken action out of consideration.”

Renting land plots in industrial zones costs Ks 200 or Ks 250 per square foot, while purchasing land plots costs between Ks 300 million and Ks 350 million per acre, real estate market sources say.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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