Boom time in Myanmar

When an Indian executive first came to Myanmar in 1995 he paid $25 a night for a room in a prominent hotel. Today, the same room costs $250 prompting his company, which bagged a gas block here, to set up a guest house in Yangon.

But the shortage will soon be history. European hotel chain Accor is already constructing a business hotel, while Marriot has decided to enter a market that now boasts of brands like Giorgio Armani and others.

India’s neighbor is now open for business, resulting in a rush of businessmen looking at investment opportunities. The mood is upbeat, and even the ethnic violence that claimed several lives in the north is glossed over.

From setting up an independent telecom regulator to enacting around 50 laws amending almost an equal number, and introducing a simplified sales tax and exchange rate mechanism, the government is trying to ensure that overseas investors return after 50 years of army
rule which ended last year. The financial sector laws are expected to be amended, and the likes of
ANZ and Standard Chartered are keen to start operations in a country dominated by an informal system of finance.

Coca-Cola returned after almost 60 years by opening a bottling plant on June 4; a second will
be ready in a month and the company plans on investing $200m over the next five years. Unilever too plans a second plant and investment of $500m. more…