Stock standards: papermarkers face international competition

A lack of locally produced high quality paper means printers are heavily dependent on imported stock, dealers say – although strong demand may allow the country to learn from industry leaders like Indonesia over the next few years.

With paper consumption high in Myanmar, consumers of imported paper tend to focus more on price than quality, according to one paper import company spokesperson.

“We have no choice as our country can’t produce the same quality as imported paper. So we just find the sources who can import at the minimum prices and we sell it locally at a fair price,” said Ma Zarchi, manager of Taw Win Myint Mo Company.

Ma Zarchi said the Myanmar paper market is influenced mostly by Indonesian-made paper, which she called a strong product with a reasonable price.

Local paper shop owner U Kyaw Win, who orders imported paper via local companies, agreed. “The Indonesian paper is the best, as far as I know. After that follows Thai-, Chinese- and Indian-made paper.”

Myanmar International Printing Industry Exhibition, a paper trade show held last month at Yangon’s Parkroyal Hotel, played host to international suppliers such as Elof Hansson and showed off samples of newsprint, uncoated wood-free offset paper, coated wood-free art paper and other types of paper to potential buyers.

“Myanmar is now opening up and we are getting to know more about Myanmar,” said M Ashok, the company’s divisional manager in India. “What India was in 1990s, Myanmar is today. When a country starts to grow, the paper market will grow automatically and the demand for paper grows.”

Mr Ashok said India was “not a big exporter” of paper, due to high domestic demand. But he said the country exports more than 1 million tonnes of its 9.3 million tonnes produced per year to African nations, and is also starting to look closer to home.

“What we expect now is India will get duty-free export within ASEAN countries in 2015, so [the Asian market is] opening up and India wants a big role to play.”

U Win Sein, sole local distributer of Elof Hansson paper products, said Myanmar’s meagre paper business shows very good promise over the next 20 years.

“Our local paper industries failed to produce quality paper,” he said. “So if the international companies are coming in, we can get their technology.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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