Myanmar business opportunity

What are the business opportunities in Myanmar we are often asked? Myanmar being an emerging market where there has been economic isolation and under-investment for the last 50 years presents many opportunities in infrastructure related industries such as:

    1. Telecom
      • Mobile tower construction
      • Network planning and engineering
      • Subsea cable engineering, laying and installation
      • Optical Fiber engineering, laying and installation to residential, commercial and industrial zones
      • Internet Service Providers
      • Public Wi-Fi rollout over large area e.g. airport, hotel, convention center, downtown, subway, etc
    2. Power Generation
      • Construction of medium to large-scale hydro and gas-fired power plants in Public-Private-Partnerships
      • Investments into the transmission system (e.g. high-voltage transmission lines between the North of Myanmar and Yangon)
      • Realization of small-scale hydro-power projects e.g. to supply a village tract
      • Establishment of solar energy farms and wind power farms
      • Provision of efficient and practical solar-power kits to communities currently off-grid as well as of solar-power based solutions (e.g. solar-powered pumps, solar lighting)
      • Upgrading of the current power infrastructure in urban centers and industrial zones
    3. Building & Construction
      • Urban planning, building and management
      • SEZ planning, building and management
      • Building of transportation system such as airports, sea ports, rails, roads and bridges
      • Establishment and retrofitting of industrial parks and supportive infrastructure
      • Building of logistics infrastructure
      • Building of affordable housing in Yangon, Mandalay and second-tier cities in all states and regions.
      • Restoration of colonial heritage buildings in Downtown Yangon.
    4. Urban Solutions:
      • Investments into systems for the improvement of public transport in urban agglomerations
      • Establishment of parks, facilities for recreation and entertainment
      • Provision of private healthcare facilities
      • Establishment of private education institutions (e.g. private universities, business schools, certified vocational training)
      • Smart traffic management and road safety solutions
      • Urban waste management
      • Water treatment facilities
    5. Hotel, Tourism
      • Investing in tourist class hotel
      • Investing in tourism related transport service such as tour buses, limousine, etc
      • Investing in tourism related novelty programs such as hot air balloons, river cruises, amphibious vessels, etc
      • Developing eco-tourism (e.g. development of eco-tourism oriented hotels and lodges along with respective activities such as trekking routes or tours)
      • Building cultural and community-based tourism (e.g. development of shops for the sale of locally produced cultural artifacts)
    6. Manufacturing – Myanmar manufactured products have been granted preferential tariff under the GSP scheme for import into the United States, European Union, Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia respectively.
      • labour-intensive industries in second-tier cities (e.g. Pathein, Bago, Hpa An) in areas such as production of garments and shoes or assembling of toys and stationary articles
      • agro-processing industries at the locations of agricultural produce in rural areas (see section on agriculture)
      • Production of building materials strongly demanded by the national construction industry (e.g. cement, bricks, steel, glass, paints, doors, windows etc.)
      • gemstone processing industries (e.g. jade, sapphires, rubies) to establish value-adding production such as design, cutting and polishing inside Myanmar. The sanction preventing the import of jade and precious stones into the United States has been removed on 7th Oct 2016 by President Obama.
      • capital-intensive industries (e.g. automotive, land machinery) particularly at locations with good access to international and national markets (e.g. SEZs)
      • wood-processing industry particularly based on hardwood and bamboo (e.g. furniture production)
      • paper and cardboard industry
      • high-tech industries (e.g. in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Bago and Mandalay) based on local, regional and global demand and the opportunities through the proximity of international airports
      • chemical industries (e.g. pharmaceutical and plastic articles) based on local and regional demand
      • industrial services, e.g. waste water management, recycling, training
    7. Agricultural & Farming Industry
      • Distribution of low-cost irrigation systems to rural communities (e.g. solar-powered, with instruction)
      • Leasing of agricultural tools and machinery
      • Distribution of high-quality seeds for higher yields
      • Establishment of the production of fertilizers, crop protection chemicals etc.
      • Contract farming (i.e. direct sourcing from rural communities (based on partnership agreements)
      • Introducing value-added production / processing based on local agricultural produce (e.g. production of Mango Puree, Dry Fruits, Potato Chips, etc from local produce).
      • Establish packaging / canning industry for agricultural produce
      • Establishment of research and training institutions or demonstration farms on integrated agriculture, crop sequencing, fertilizer use, organic agriculture and agriculture-related business skill development
      • Construction of warehouses and cold storages
      • Microfinance, micro-insurance and trade finance services for farmers
    8. Aquaculture and Fisheries (except for fresh water fisheries)
      • Capture and aquaculture of different types of fish
      • Capture and aquaculture of shrimp and prawn
      • Fish food production
      • Fish and seafood processing facilities
      • Cooling, canning and packaging facilities
      • Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge as well as the base of human resources available to the fisheries sector
    9. Mining – Myanmar is rich in the following minerals: Alum, Amber, Antimony, Barite, Bauxite, Beryl, Bismuth, Cadmium, Chromite, Columbite, Copper, Corundum, Gemstones, Gold, Graphite, Gypsum, Iridium, Iron ores, Manganese, Mica, Molybdenum, Natural gas, Nickel, Ochre Oil, Oil, shale, Phosphates, Silver, Soda, Steatite, Sulphates, Sulphides, Sulphur, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Cinnebar, Coal, Cobalt, Jadeite, Kaolin, Lead, Platinum, salt, Saltpetre, Zinc
      • Exploration and feasibility studies for projects in mining as well as oil and gas
      • Medium to Large-scale operation of mines and wells
      • Offshore and onshore opportunities for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas
      • Establishment of petroleum-based industrial, processing and supportive facilities (e.g. refineries, fertilizers, LPG, LNG)
      • Value-added production based on natural resources
      • Supporting industries, such as machinery, maintenance, consulting services
      • Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge as well as the base of human resources available to this sector
    10. Forestry-based Industry – Myanmar is rich in the following tree species:  Teak, Pyinkado, Padauk, Pine and others. However there is a ban on the export of raw timber that was imposed on 1st April 2014 i.e. Myanmar only allow export of processed timber and not raw timber log.
      • Establishment of wood-processing industry (e.g. furniture production)
      • Expansion of bamboo forests and bamboo-based production (i.e. handicrafts)
      • Rubber-based industries (e.g. tire production in Mon and Karen State)
      • Teak and hardwood plantations
      • Sandalwood-processing industries
      • Community-based forestry
    11. Services – due to a massive brain drain Myanmar is short in all kinds of skills, technical and managerial people in all industries.
      • Building consultancy – earthquake proof structure, mechanical and electrical engineering, civil and structural engineering, building information modelling, etc.
      • Design consultancy – urban design and master planning consultancy, architectural design, building interior design, retail design, etc.
      • Environmental and social impact consultancy in the area of Oil & Gas, Mining, large scale development projects such as SEZs, airports, seaports, etc.
      • Seismic data acquisition consultancy for the Oil & Gas and Mining industries.
      • Educational and training consultancy for key industries such as Oil & Gas, Mining, Power Generation, Construction, Banking, Hotel & Retail, etc.
      • Agricultural and livestock management and production consultancy and training.
      • Hospital and healthcare planning and management consultancy and training.
      • Banking software applications for Retail, Private, Universal, Wholesale & Lending business functions
      • E-Government software applications that automate managing of appointment, application for permit or licence, queuing system for government department that interact with citizens, procurement system, etc.
      • Information system required to manage airport operations, port operations and custom/immigration entry and exit points
      • Real estate marketing consultancy for high end property.
      • Retail brand franchise opportunity e.g. fast food and restaurant concepts
    12. Foreigners traditionally cannot be involved in trading i.e. you will not be able to apply for an import or export licence. However recently the Myanmar government pass a notification allowing foreigners to operate trading business in a JV with a Myanmar citizen in the following areas:
      • Construction materials – permitted since 7 July 2016
      • Fertilizers – permitted since 11 Nov 2015
      • Pesticides – permitted since 11 Nov 2015
      • Seeds – permitted since 11 Nov 2015
      • Hospital equipment – permitted since 11 Nov 2015
    13. Foreigners can now invest legally in the following business activities without the need to have a Myanmar citizen as a JV partner i.e. a foreigner can own 100% pf the following economic activities
      • Production and distribution of hybrid seeds
      • Production and propagation of high yield seeds and local seeds
      • Manufacturing of rubber and rubber products
      • Ecotourism
    14. What can foreigners legally do now in Myanmar without having to look for a Myanmar citizen as JV partners i.e. where you can own the business 100% as a foreigner.
      • Engineering consultancy services
      • Design consultancy services
      • Consultancy services in agriculture, fisheries and live stocks
      • Business advisory, marketing research and advertising services
      • Software development services
      • Operating a restaurant or cafe
      • Operating a hotel that is ≥ 3 stars
      • Operating a wellness spa
    15. To see what sectors the Myanmar government are promoting and is giving incentives such as 3 to 7 years tax holiday under the Myanmar Investment Law – go to Promoted Sectors (or click  here) to see a breakdown by sector under MIC Notification No 13/2017 of 1st April 2017.

The above are just some of the areas that you can explore. Myanmar now is like China in the 1980s – everything look old, grey and crumbling and everything need to be build anew. For more information – please visit the following sections on our website:

  • Tender and Award section and SEARCH* for more information on the type of tenders that are frequently called by the government ministries in Myanmar and which foreign companies have won the past tenders.
  • Looking for Business Partner section for local Myanmar company that are looking for foreign business partners who can inject technology, know how and capital into their business.

*Enter your query into the search box in the top right corner of our website.

To evaluate the various segments of the market that you could possibly enter base on your competencies you can do a Custom Market Entry Strategy Research. You can see a sample report at page “Actual Sample of Client Report”. Click here to go to page.