Infrastructure drive targets Myanmar / Japan firms promoting quality, technology

Japanese firms are increasingly conducting infrastructure development business in Myanmar, which has become a hot spot for the infrastructure export drive being promoted by the government and private sector.

The development stems from Myanmar’s growing need to upgrade infrastructure like its electricity network to meet rapid economic growth since its transition to a democratic government in 2011.

Hitachi, Ltd. announced on Tuesday that one of its subsidiaries, Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems Co., will set up a joint firm with a Myanmar company to produce electric transformers — a vital component in developing electricity networks.

Japanese firms have advantages in developing electric power infrastructure. Mitsubishi Electric Corp. also formed a technological tie-up with a local electric transformer producer in June.

Major trading houses have been following suit. Mitsui & Co. announced plans last year to assist with gas-fired power generation in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, while Marubeni Corp. also said last year that it will support thermal electric power generation in the country’s south. In a similar vein, Mitsubishi Corp. has been running an international airport in Mandalay, the second-largest city, since April.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein on Saturday on the sidelines of the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in Tokyo, in which they agreed Japan would offer infrastructure development assistance to the Southeast Asian country.

Myanmar’s gross domestic product grew 7.7 percent in 2014, the highest among the emerging Southeast Asian countries. More and more foreign companies have started businesses in the country that is expected to continue posting high economic growth, earning it the nickname “Asia’s last frontier.”

Economic sanctions imposed under military junta rule had resulted in underdeveloped infrastructure there, however, particularly in terms of railway and road networks as well as the power grid. The measures have strained foreign enterprises in the country, prompting the Myanmar government to call for overseas investment for the development of its infrastructure.

With deep ties that extend back to the junta era, China is a leading investor in Myanmar’s energy sector — in the field of hydropower generation and others. Japanese companies are aiming to secure more contracts by promoting their advantages in terms of technology, quality and maintenance.Speech

Source: The Japan News

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