06 Oct Myanmar, new kid on Southeast Asian block
Myanmar enjoys a strategic location between two large economies, India and China, and also shares borders with Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand. It is, in fact, the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia. With a long coastline stretching from the Andaman Sea to the Bay of Bengal, the country has the potential to develop into a regional trading and logistics hub. Myanmar’s resources include vast tracts of fertile land as well as rich reserves of natural resources including hydrocarbons; not surprisingly, main exports are agricultural produce and natural gas.
Myanmar has a relatively young population and the consumer goods sector is one of its fastest growing because of the country’s strong economy and increasing purchasing power. The proximity to China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh gives Myanmar access to the big markets of these countries. The government of Myanmar has been focusing on economic growth with a thrust on exports and infrastructure development. The country is increasingly attractive for foreign investors.
The combination of a large domestic market, the potential for exports, a strategic location and improved incentives has led a number of international companies to establish manufacturing units in Myanmar. Several global brands have encouraged suppliers from China and elsewhere to establish manufacturing facilities in Myanmar.
Opening up after decades of isolation, Myanmar is the new kid in the Southeast Asian block. The Myanmar government is taking steps to attract investors to different sectors. The opening up of the economy has generated a real estate and tourism boom; the country is also seeing a larger number of expats who are moving there because of larger business opportunities.
While the 2021 coup is likely to play spoil sport and will dampen the spirit, Myanmar is expected to bounce back and push harder, for investors waiting for the demographic dividend the resilient country offers.