YANGON — Bottles rolled down the assembly line in packs of 12, the first Coca-Cola products made in Myanmar in more than 60 years, as the US beverage behemoth became the most high-profile international company to date to re-enter a market long closed off to Western investment.
Coca-Cola inaugurated a bottling facility in Yangon’s Hmawbi Township, pledging to employ 2,500 people directly and create 22,000 jobs across its supply chain.
“As global as Coca-Cola is, we operate a local business in more than 200 nations around the world,” Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said outside the new bottling plant on Tuesday. “And the cornerstone, the key success factor for being a local business, is producing, distributing, selling and employing locally.”
Coca-Cola is partnering with local firm Pinya Manufacturing in the venture, and plans to invest more than US$200 million in its Myanmar operations over the next five years. The company will open up a second factory in Myanmar within the next month, Kent said before a gathering that included Myint Swe, Yangon Division’s Chief Minister, as well as Yangon Mayor Hla Myint and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
“This is an important moment for Myanmar, a moment not just for the Coca-Cola Company, but for the city of Yangon as well,” Myint Swe said, describing the partnership as a ‘blueprint’ for future responsible investment. more…