Myanmar’s Booming Beauty Business

Vol1_005From lip gloss to powder puff, the demand for beauty products is on the rise in Myanmar’s growing consumer market. Beauty brands from Europe, America and Asia are popping up in salons and beauty stores all over Myanmar as more women seek better skin care and quality cosmetics, experts say.

Since Western countries have rolled back punitive trade and financial sanctions against Myanmar, more and more Western products are reappearing on this Southeast Asian country’s shelves. Previously, many Western cosmetics were either smuggled across Myanmar’s borders or imported through third parties from countries such as Singapore.

Khine Cindy Soe, communications manager for La Source Company, a large local distributor of international beauty products, said that as Myanmar opens up to the world, more prominent international brands are coming onto the market. Another new entrant to the market is multinational heavyweight Unilever, which owns more than 400 household brands worldwide, including popular household soap and shampoo labels, Dove, Rexona and Sunsilk, which can all be found on Myanmar’s supermarket shelves.

The UK-listed consumer goods company resumed its distribution operations in Myanmar in 2010 and currently has a representative office. The group, which is the world’s third-largest consumer goods company with market capitalization of £27.3 billion (US $41 billion) in 2011, also has plans to establish a local company in Myanmar, according to their website.