Sales slow but ministers optimistic on Mandalay jade market

Mandalay jade sellers are still resisting moving to a new market due to open in August. Only a small percentage of apartments at the market have been sold, although the regional mining minister says he believes the market will be a success.

Over 2000 apartments will be available at the new market facility, but just 10 have been sold, U Than Soe Myint, regional minister of mining told The Myanmar Times on January 15. The market will provide 250 new shops and some of these have been sold already, although spaces remain, U Than Soe Myint said. Exact sales figures for shop spaces were not available.

Many stallholders at the existing Maha Aung Myay jade market in downtown Mandalay are resisting the move. The new market is around an hour’s drive away from the old one, and stallholders had urged the government to upgrade the existing facilities instead.

Stallholders wanting to set up shop at the new market had until December 31 to put in their claim for a 3.5-storey, 20-by-30-foot space for K50 million, or a 30-by-35ft shop for K80 million. Apartments and shop spaces will be available at the new market. Lots were to be drawn on January 1 for the living space and on January 3 for the shops, The Myanmar Times reported last year.

This deadline seems likely to be extended. But U Myo Zaw, a stallholder at the old market, said he would not be buying a stall in the new facility, and neither would most of his competitors at Maha Aung Myay.

There has been a long running campaign against the new jade market since it was first proposed in 2012. A petition against the move drew 10,000 signatures for locals. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest in 2014. The government had initially planned to close the old market, but has since said it will keep Maha Aung Myay open. Stallholders are free to move if they want, U Than Soe Myint said.

“It depends on whether they want to,” he said. ““There are implementing jade markets project in other towns – Myitkyina, Mogok, Muse. The jade market in Mandalay is being built to international standards.”

Regional ministry offices will receive 25 percent of the profits from sales at the market, which will go to a regional government fund.

U Than Soe Myint said the market would be successful, because of the nearby Myint Nge jade pagoda and Tada Oo hotel zone.

“The [new] market isn’t ready yet so we need to wait and see,” he said. “We’ve already sold 10 apartments, and in August we’ll have finished all the infrastructure and landscaping.”

This will include a tour gate for transportation to Mandalay a food court and banking facilities. The new jade market is one of several projects that will enliven the southern part of Mandalay, U Than Soe Myint added.

A new wholesale market is being built in Paleik, some 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Mandalay. A new Mandalay international airport is expected to open this year, and the Tada Oo hotel zone and Myint Nge dry port projects are also under way.

Source: Myanmar Times

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