German giant returns to Myanmar

German engineering group ThyssenKrupp has returned to Myanmar to resume a relationship that dates back more than 85 years.

It opened an office in Sule, downtown Yangon, last month to show the group’s commitment to the long-term growth of Myanmar, said Stefan Schmitt, ThyssenKrupp’s Asia-Pacific CEO, adding that the Myanmar market was part of its strategic approach to increasing its regional footprint.

“Myanmar is a key Asia-Pacific economy with good growth perspectives. The emerging economy represents an important key to the Asian growth market for us. We are bringing our core engineering expertise and ability to connect competencies to the country,” he said.

“Our office is just one important step underlining ThyssenKrupp’s commitment to Myanmar and its development. We want to serve the domestic market with products and services that meet the regional demand. A presence is a prerequisite to really understand the markets of the very diverse Asia-Pacific region.”

The firm’s history in the country dates back more than 85 years with the delivery of 40 locomotives to Burma Railways.

On its return, the firm aims to attract both domestic traders and foreign corporates. While it targets the private sector, the firm has been involved in many government projects worldwide.

On offer is cutting-edge elevator and escalator technologies, industrial solutions in energy-efficient mining, cement and chemical plants, and sophisticated technical material and metal trading services in the manufacturing sector to support Myanmar’s rising industrial sector.

“Globally, we offer innovative products and solutions for industrial sectors – such as refineries and petrochemical industries or renewable energies – that are potentially key markets for Myanmar’s future. Urbanisation and mobility are further topics in ThyssenKrupp’s elevator, material trading and automotive sectors,” he said.

“We are here to stay. As a diversified industrial group, our focus is to enhance value creation in the country and contribute to the sustainable and technology-led development of the economy and society.”

Schmitt believes the new office will bring the firm to a new level as it focuses on closer collaboration across businesses, countries and regions.

“We have direct market access and get a better market understanding in order to be able to tailor our services and products to local needs. We hire experienced people. Many of our Myanmar staff worked abroad and also at ThyssenKrupp and we asked some to come back. We trained our staff on the job and special training courses,” he said.

The firm started its operations with a small team that includes two domestic staff and two employees working from Thailand for its Myanmar operations. The firm expects to employ more staff soon.

“From our experience in other countries we usually start with a team of five to 15 people in the first year. In neighbouring countries of a similar size we employ around 500 to 600 people after a few years,” he said.

When asked about the group’s future investment in Myanmar, he said: “We have no plans for huge investment in the near future. However, it all depends on customers’ projects as we follow them on their growth path.”

ThyssenKrupp hopes that its re-entry will stimulate the inflow of German investments to the newly opened economy.

“We hope that more German companies are following our example to promote quality German products. We are also using many German suppliers for some products – so other German companies will make sales in Myanmar by selling to us,” he said.

“The more famous companies like ThyssenKrupp enter the market, the more confident other, smaller companies get to follow.”

Schmitt encouraged German businesses to do business in Myanmar for the long run, as the country had good prospects.

“German firms should try to understand the people and help establish confidence in German products. At the same time, they help support good governance and fight corruption,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Eleven

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