Young entrepreneurs in Myanmar remain upbeat on the country’s economic outlook despite weakening of the kyat, high inflation and delay to reform.
“It is not good if you look at the exchange rate. The kyat is retreating against the US dollar and Thai baht, We are in a unstable period,” May Mon Thu, managing director and founder of Mamper Co, a marketing firm in Yangon, told The Nation. She was referring to volatility in the financial market, sending the kyat down sharply since the beginning of this month.
The Myanmar currency is moving around 1,500 kyats per US dollar from 1,440 earlier this month. The high inflation rate of 6 per cent have also dampened consumer’s spending power. The kyat has been negatively affected by the US rate hike, the US-China trade war and fall of the Turkish currency, leading to capital outlfows from emerging and frontier markets. May Mon Thu expects growth of her business to pick up again next year after the current slowdown in line with the Myanmar economy.
New graduates with skills in information technology could find high-paying jobs in the country. However, many have yet to learn how to use Microsoft products or making a presentation with computer applications, she said. As most small and start-up businesses in Myanmar use Facebook as a tool to sell their products, her company helps with their branding, marketing and promotion.
“It is a blue ocean, there are business opportunities in many sectors,” said Bruce Mo Ye Kyaw, director of Bumrungrad Clinic Yangon who has been doing business with Bangkok-based Bamrungrad Hospital for nearly 13 years. He expects his medical business to grow 5-6 per cent in total revenue this year, regardless of the country’s slower economic expansion,
The Asian Development Bank forecasted a 6.8 per cent growth in Myanmar’s gross domestic product this year, down from 7 per cent in 2015.
Akirakorn I-kitisiri, country head of MONO Group in Myanmar, said he expected media content such as on-line games on mobile phone application, to take off in the next few years as the number of smartphone users increases. MONO is a Thailand-based digital TV channel with a presence in the country. Chayavat Chareonrai, general manager of United Distribution Solution, a provider of information technological services in Myanmar, said most consumers in Myanmar, unlike in Thailand, simply jump to a smartphone without having owned a personal computer.
He said the imminent arrival of smart IT network and the new mobile bandwidth will strengthen mobile platforms in Myanmar, adding that many people in Myanmar have no bank account depsite owning a SIM card. The country needs to boost its electricity supplies and IT infrastructure,among other related sectors, Chayavat said.
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27 August 2018