Bullish Sentiment on Myanmar’s ICT Development – Day 1 at Asia IoT Business Platform, Myanmar

Myanmar is definitely an exciting place to be right now for technology companies. Myanmar has progressed rapidly since her liberalization a few years ago. A major factor in this progress would be the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as stated by U So Thein, Director General, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Myanmar, “Investments in telecommunications infrastructure has been a major contributing factor to Myanmar’s GDP growth over the last two years,” in his welcome address today.

He also stated that technology will play a pivotal role in Myanmar’s development and this is supported by the fact that almost 80% of the population are using smartphones. U Thaung Tin, the former Deputy Union Minister from the Ministry of  Communications and Information Technology also highlighted that the Burmese government is willing and ready to embrace nationwide digital transformation. He argued that the critical components such as network infrastructure, legal infrastructure, and presence of solution providers are all in place in Myanmar, citing that big players in the industry such as Cisco, Ooreedo, Telenor, Microsoft, and Oracle already have a presence in Myanmar.

A common theme observed from today’s discussion is the importance of collaboration from various stakeholders to propel the ICT industry development in Myanmar further. Everyone on our keynote panel as well as our banking & finance panel emphasized this notion again and again. We also have observed similar sentiment in other developing countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia and Philippines.

Our panelist and speakers all agree that Myanmar has great potential and they are very optimistic. Many of them are reiterating the fact even though Myanmar is lagging behind, Myanmar can utilize the late-comer advantage in terms of technology adoption. Nwe Ni Soe Yin the Director of E-Government Department of Ministry of Transport and Communications shared her view that Myanmar can actually leapfrog and doesn’t need to worry about a legacy problem which is faced by many other developing countries.

Another highlight of today’s conference was the banking and finance panel consisting of local finance leaders of financial institutions in Myanmar. Our panelists shared that banks in Myanmar have started to embrace technology as they have reached a consensus that it is a necessity for them to pursue digital transformation. The digital transformation would allow them not only to serve their customers better but also to optimize their internal operations. Banks are also working closely with technology companies and government to create an integrated payment system in the country and it is expected to be rolled out soon as shared by U Minn Wint Oo, the CTO of Ayeyarwady Bank. However, aside from the optimism, there are challenges to be addressed such as data security and privacy. Mike Phone Myint, the Head of IT of Yoma Bank, emphasized that they are all still in the infancy stage in the data security and privacy sector and a lot of work need to be done to ensure that the customers are protected.

If you are interested in the technology developments of enterprises in Mynamar, please leave a comment in this article and we will get back to you shortly. Also, read up more about the Burmese digital transformation here. Please also feel free to drop us a note at [email protected].

Felix Fernando

23 November 2017

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