Realising Digital Myanmar

After 49 years of military rule, Myanmar’s reintegration with the international community from 2011 onwards has set off a series of events, including liberalisation of telecommunication sector: the country has now over 50 million mobile subscribers – that’s 98% SIM penetration according to GSMA.

Following its track record of driving digital economy within Southeast Asia, Asia IoT Business Platform launched its inaugural edition in Yangon in 2017 with the support of Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and Ministry of Industry (MOI); and living up to its “world fastest growing economy” expectation by IMF, we were (pleasantly) surprised at how Burmese enterprises – both public and private – have leveraged on its latecomer advantage and leapfrogged into the digital era.

Government’s actions to date

Myanmar’s government has a unique opportunity to learn from international digital government experiences to develop a model that suits the Myanmar context.

The formation of Digital Economy Development Committee last year have kick-started efforts from improving tax collection and trade, upgrading the education system, expanding the reach of the health system to building environmentally sustainable cities, with ultimate aims of having 80% of G2B and 50% of G2C services digitised, 75% employment rate of ICT graduates, and contributing to 5% additional GDP growth by 2020.

(U Soe Thein, Director General of Post & Telecommunications Department, MOTC sharing Myanmar’s Digital Vision at Asia IoT Business Platform 2017)

MOTC will soon launch an e-government portal that aims to consolidate the websites of all e-government services for the first time. In terms of G2C, e-visa service was one of the successful launches by the government (which I personally benefit from). We’re expecting more services to be rolled out to facilitate digital ID, vital registration statistics, industrial machine registration, cargo clearance, income & commercial tax filing,
low cost housing applications and driving test appointments.

Yangon Bus Service has been reformed with implementation of Yangon Payment System, and mandated GPS-tracking of all buses aim to help the Transport Authority with route planning and better services.

Commitment from the Telecommunication Sector

Competition has just gotten up with the launch of Myanmar’s 4th telco, MyTel, offering 80% of 2G and 4G network coverage. They have vowed their aim to extend their coverage to 90%, reaching rural areas of Myanmar.

Last week, Ooredoo and Nokia announced their partnership to introduce an IoT services platform in Myanmar. The “Sensing-as-a-Service” model aims to help enterprises and solution partners tap on the existing infrastructure to build customised services for real-time monitoring.

(With Vikram, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar at their IoT services platform launch)

Telenor has voiced their strong devotion to
assist the government in building “Digital Myanmar”, leveraging on their international case studies from Telenor Start IoT project in Norway, to dtac Smart Farmer program in Thailand.

The Foundation: Digital Infrastructure

If you’re familiar with Myanmar, you might have noticed that most enterprises do not own a proper email domain (I’m just starting to get used to having senior executives of local firms writing to me with their email addresses ending with

Currently, most digital leaders in Myanmar are focusing resources on fixing/cleaning up their internal infrastructure across sites/subsidiaries, in view of laying a proper, and most importantly, secured foundation for further application developments.

Moving beyond, we have seen companies across industries like KBZ, Yoma Strategic, Capital Star, Daraz Myanmar that have come up with innovative approach to capitalise on technology partners expertise to improve their business processes and services offerings.

(Yoma Fleet will be sharing their lessons learnt throughout their digital journey with our partner Myanmar Tracker.)

More of the above stories will be discussed at the upcoming Asia IoT Business Platform in Yangon this Nov 15-16, and we look forward to
facilitate further B2B partnerships and digital adoption within enterprises in Myanmar.

Drop me a note if you’re interested to find out more of the local developments that could be relevant to your business.

Sue Yuin Ho

27 September 2018

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