Investment Opportunities

The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar warmly invites responsible investors to seek and seize business opportunities in Myanmar to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar … … in AGRICULTURE

Myanmar is a agro-based country with a vast potential of fertile land and abundant water resources. In 2014-15 a total area of 11.379 million hectares had been used for agriculture (net area sown). Given the landscape profile, topographic dimensions of Myanmar and different climatic areas in Myanmar, not only perennial plants, but also crops such as rice, pulses and beans, fruits and vegetables can be easily grown.

DICA is aiming at attracting responsible local and foreign investors, transforming the mostly traditional agricultural economy of today into a productive and sustainable agro-economy. To achieve this goal, increases in agricultural productivity (e.g. better irrigation, better seeds and techniques) and quality (e.g. seed quality, immediate post-harvest processing) are required.

Key opportunities:

  • Agricultural input industries:
    • Distribution of low-cost irrigation systems to rural communities (e.g. solar-powered, with instruction)
      [Media: DICA_Investment_Opportunities_Irrigation]
    • Leasing of agricultural tools and machinery
    • Distribution of high-quality seeds for higher yields (e.g. rice unification in cooperation with the Myanmar Agricultural Bank to incentive conversion of communities to agriculture with higher productivity levels)
    • Establishment of the production of fertilizers, crop protection chemicals etc.
  • Product and market development:
    • Contract farming (i.e. direct sourcing from rural communities (based on partnership agreements)
    • Introducing value-added production / processing based on local agricultural produce (e.g. groundnut, sesame). Please find a list of selected crops and annual production below:
      [Media: DICA_Investment_Opportunities_Agricultural_Crops]
    • Establish packaging / canning industry for agricultural produce
  • Agriculture-related services:
    • Establishment of research and training institutions or demonstration farms on integrated agriculture, crop sequencing, fertilizer use, organic agriculture and agriculture-related business skill development
    • Construction of warehouses and cold storages
    • Microfinance, microinsurance and trade finance services for farmers

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in AQUACULTURE & FISHERIES

Given Myanmar’s 2,832 kilometers of coastline along the Bay of Bengal and in the Andaman Sea, fisheries represent – as a natural matter of fact – an important opportunity for communities and businesses in the coastal areas of Myanmar (particularly in Rakhine State). Fishing grounds in Myanmar water are relatively less exploited than elsewhere. The aquaculture sector is operating almost 50,000 hectares of freshwater ponds.

According to statistics of the Department of Fisheries of the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, the production of fish and seafood has nearly increased to an eightfold between 1994 and 2014 demonstrating the importance of the sector to the economy as well as its strong potentials. Opportunities in the sector exist inshore (e.g. fish ponds, inland river systems and aquaculture), offshore as well as at deepsea locations.

Foreign investment in the fisheries sector is permitted to foreign investors in a joint venture with a local company. Recently, fishery products from Myanmar received approval to be exported to the European Union by certified producers. Myanmar enjoys preferential tariff arrangements with the European Union as a least developed country (LDC).

Key opportunities:

  • Capture and aquaculture of different types of fish
  • Capture and aquaculture of shrimp and prawn
  • Fish food production
  • Fish and seafood processing facilities
  • Cooling, canning and packaging facilities
  • Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge as well as the base of human resources available to the fisheries sector

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… through URBANIZATION

Likewise to other economies, Myanmar is experiencing a gradual migration process of population from rural to urban areas of Myanmar driven by a more diverse set of educational, professional and income opportunities. Hand-in-hand with urbanization come challenges as well as opportunities for local and foreign businesses addressing these needs and finding durable solutions for better and smarter cities in a more livable and a sustainable environment.

Changed demand patterns of the rapidly growing middle and consumer class open up new opportunities for the distribution of a larger spectrum of consumer goods (e.g. FMCG) as well as an emergence of new service industries (e.g. restaurants, entertainment, education).

Key opportunities:

  • Real Estate& Construction:
    • Realization of projects for affordable housing in Yangon, Mandalay and second-tier cities in all states and regions
      • Nearly 20,000 low-cost and affordable apartments are planned only in Yangon, Pathein and Mawlamyine in FY 2015-16. Demand is to increase rapidly.
    • Restauration of colonial heritage buildings in Downtown Yangon
  • Urban solutions:
    • Investments into systems for the improvement of public transport in urban agglomerations
    • Establishment of parks, facilities for recreation and entertainment
    • Provision of private healthcare facilities
    • Establishment of private education institutions (e.g. private universities, business schools, certified vocational training)
    • Smart traffic management and road safety solutions
    • Urban waste management
    • Water treatment facilities
  • Production and distribution of consumer goods and lifestyle articles

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in TOURISMAND HOSPITALITY

The tourism and hospitality sector in Myanmar is evolving rapidly since the political and economic opening of the country – the number of visitors to the country has been growing nearly exponentially since 2011:

TABLE: International tourist arrivals (including air, sea and road)

Year Total
1995-1996 208,228
2000-2001 438,480
2005-2006 653,549
2010-2011 792,738
2011-2012 866,989
2012-2013 1,339,442
2013-2014 2,247,117
2014-2015 3,443,009

Source: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Immigration and Population

At the moment, foreign tourists (on their first short-term visit to Myanmar) mostly visit Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake / Nyaung Shwe as well as Mandalay. However, Myanmar offers to date unexplored treasures of natural beautyin the whole of the country from Kawthaung in the tropical South-East to Putao in the Himalaya.

The table displays the current distribution of hotels, motels and inns/guesthouses in Myanmar and reflects the considerable under capacity of available accommodation in numerous locations outside of the urban centers Yangon and Mandalay. There is a need for both, affordable as well as high-class accommodation depending on the current demand.

TABLE: Distribution of available capacity of hotels, motels, inns/guesthouses (in FY 2014-15; including private owned, state-owned and cooperative-owned establishments)

State / Region No. of hotels, motels and inns No. of rooms No. of beds
Kachin State 26 732 1445
Kayah State 8 175 350
Kayin State 11 346 692
Chin State 4 40 69
Sagaing Region 23 724 1426
Tanintharyi Region 27 1226 2385
Bago Region 50 1212 2325
Magway Region 28 598 1185
Mandalay Region 356 15053 30045
Mon State 39 1392 2784
Rakhine State 43 1303 2616
Yangon Region 301 14053 28072
Shan State 232 7015 13914
Ayeyarwaddy Region 64 2387 4703
Nay Pyi Taw 2 70 102
TOTAL 1214 46326 92113

Source: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Ministry of Cooperatives

Foreign investors may engage independently in hotel developments of 3-stars or higher standard, whereby local investors are encouraged also to consider opportunities in offering budget accommodation through guesthouses at international standards. For foreign companies, investments in tour companies, travel agencies, budget hotels, amusement parks and tourism-related public infrastructure projects are permitted on a joint-venture basis.

Key opportunities:

  • Exploring new high-potential investment locations in hospitality and tourism
  • Developing eco-tourism (e.g. development of eco-tourism oriented hotels and lodges along with respective activities such as trekking routes or tours)
  • Building cultural and community-based tourism (e.g. development of shops for the sale of locally produced cultural artifacts)

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in the POWER SECTOR

The power sector of Myanmar opens up abundant and immediate opportunities to foreign and local investors. The installation of considerable additional capacity to the current 4,422 MW as well as the rapid construction of transmission lines are national priorities. In order to reach the objective of full national electrification until 2030, the power sector of Myanmar is to grow to a multiple of its current size.

The abundance of locations suitable for hydropower generation, the available rich natural gas deposits and nearly unexplored potentials in solar power and wind power along with the expansion of the transmission system open miscellaneous investment potentials. In the medium run, Myanmar may even develop to a net exporter of electricity to neighboring countries.

Beyond 92 identified larger-scale hydropower development (for the future development of potentially additional 46.1 GW) along the Ayeyarwaddy, Sittaung, Salween and Chindwin River systems, also smaller-scale hydro power plants as well as other sources of energy (i.e. solar, wind, gas) have high potential to play a significant role for national power supply.

Key opportunities:

  • Construction of medium to large-scale hydro and gas-fired power plants in Public-Private-Partnerships
  • Investments into the transmission system (e.g. high-voltage transmission lines between the North of Myanmar and Yangon)
  • Realization of small-scale hydro-power projects e.g. to supply a village tract
  • Establishment of solar energy farms and wind power farms
  • Provision of efficient and practical solar-power kits to communities currently off-grid as well as of solar-power based solutions (e.g. solar-powered pumps, solar lighting)
  • Upgrading of the current power infrastructure in urban centers and industrial zones

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in MANUFACTURING

The manufacturing sector opens up opportunities due to the significant domestic market of Myanmar, direct access to strategic markets of Southeast Asia (ASEAN Economic Community) as well as to China and India. Preferential tariff arrangements for exports of the least developed country Myanmar to various geographies (e.g. European Union, Japan) create distinct economic incentives for investments in Myanmar.

With comparatively low labor costs, rich natural resource endowments, a diverse agricultural base for further value-added production and the strong support of industrial investment as a priority of the Government of Myanmar, investors enjoy favorable conditions.

To facilitate investments in manufacturing, three Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Thilawa (near Yangon), Dawei in Myanmar’s Southeastern Tanintharyi Region as well as Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State are currently under development along with a separate legal framework granting investment incentives to companies in these SEZ. Thilawa started its operation in 2015 as the first SEZ of Myanmar.

In addition to the SEZ, numerous industrial zones have been established throughout the country, i.e. 14 industrial zones in Yangon Region (e.g. Mingaladon Industrial Park), Mandalay, Monywa, Hpa An, Kalay, Shwebo, Myingyan, Meikhtila, Magway, Pakhokku, Yenanchaung, Taunggyi, Pyay, Mawlamyine, Pathein, Myaungmya, Hinthada and Myeik.

Key opportunities:

  • Value chain integration (e.g. joint ventures) of companies of supportive industries from Myanmar with international companies to combine operational experience in Myanmar with international markets, technology and investment capital.
  • Investment are in particular encouraged in the following industries:
    • labor-intensive industries in second-tier cities (e.g. Pathein, Bago, Hpa An) in areas such as production of garments and shoes or assembling of toys and stationary articles
    • agro-processing industries at the locations of agricultural produce in rural areas (see section on agriculture)
    • production of building materials strongly demanded by the national construction industry (e.g. cement, bricks, steel, glass, paints, doors, windows etc.)
    • gemstone processing industries (e.g. jade, sapphires, rubies) to establish value-adding production such as design, cutting and polishing inside Myanmar
    • capital-intensive industries (e.g. automotive, land machinery) particularly at locations with good access to international and national markets (e.g. SEZs)
    • wood-processing industry particularly based on hardwood and bamboo (e.g. furniture production)
    • paper and cardboard industry
    • high-tech industries (e.g. in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Bago and Mandalay) based on local, regional and global demand and the opportunities through the proximity of international airports
    • chemical industries (e.g. pharmaceutical and plastic articles) based on local and regional demand
    • industrial services, e.g. waste water management, recycling, training

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

The development of sufficient and better infrastructure is an important requirement to be able to physically carry the industrial and agricultural growth in Myanmar’s dynamic future. As stipulated in the National Comprehensive Development Plan, the Government prioritizes infrastructural and economic development along certain major trade paths through the country in order to facilitate the integration of Myanmar into production networks of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Myanmar’s Western neighbors.

The Government of Myanmar has experience in conducting infrastructural projects under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) or other Public Private Partnerships (PPP)agreements with the private sector (e.g. in the railway and highway sector) and is welcoming investors for infrastructural improvement projects.

Key opportunities:

  • Road, bridge and railway construction
  • Construction and operation of airports
  • Construction of ports
  • Establishment and retrofitting of industrial parks and supportive infrastructure
  • Logistics infrastructure

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar ……in EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES (Minerals / Oil and Gas)

Myanmar possesses natural resources in abundance, such as predominantly the following minerals:

Alum Columbite Manganese Silver
Amber Copper Mica Soda
Antimony Corundum Molybdenum Steatite
Barite Gemstones Natural gas Sulphates
Bauxite Gold Nickel Sulphides
Beryl Graphite Ochre Sulphur
Bismuth Gypsum Oil Tin
Cadmium Iridium Phosphates Titanium
Chromite Iron ores Platinum Tungsten
Cinnebar Jadeite Salt Zinc
Coal Kaolin Saltpetre
Cobalt Lead

The Government of Myanmar is encouraging responsible investments in the field of the extractive industries. Investors may support the exploration and extraction of the natural resources according to international best practices. Responsible investments in extractive industries are necessarily to consider the implications on livelihoods of the local population, the environment, societal factors as well as the political economy in specific areas. Myanmar is a candidate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Key opportunities:

  • Exploration and feasibility studies for projects in mining as well as oil and gas
  • Medium to Large-scale operation of mines and wells
  • Offshore and onshore opportunities for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas
  • Establishment of petroleum-based industrial, processing and supportive facilities (e.g. refineries, fertilizers, LPG, LNG)
  • Value-added production based on natural resources
  • Supporting industries, such as machinery, maintenance, consulting services
  • Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge as well as the base of human resources available to this sector

Seize Investment Opportunities in Myanmar …… in FORESTRY-BASED INDUSTRIES

Myanmar’s strong forestry sector offers numerous opportunities for involvement of local and international investors. The country is one of the leading producers of teak and hardwood (particularly Pyinkadoe and Padauk).

In order to prevent the continuation of unsustainable forestry practices and large scale log-harvesting particularly of teak, the Government of Myanmar strictly and effectively abandoned the export of unprocessed teak and hardwood in April 2014. According to the Department of Forestry, between 2000 and 2014, the total forest cover of Myanmar decreased from 348,680 sq-km to 304,725 sq-km equaling anaverage deforestation rate of approximately 1%.The ban on logging has proven to be effective in incentivizing more value-added production in wood-processing in Myanmar and increasing the GDP contribution of this sector.

The structural change offers opportunities to foreign and local investors to support this emergence of value-added and sustainable forestry e.g. by establishing new wood-processing industries in Myanmar. Furthermore, the stronger engagement of the private sector in the plantation business to restore forests in an environmentally and economically sustainable way is desired.

Key opportunities:

  • Establishment of wood-processing industry (e.g. furniture production)
  • Expansion of bamboo forests and bamboo-based production (i.e. handicrafts)
  • Rubber-based industries (e.g. tire production in Mon and Karen State)
  • Teak and hardwood plantations
  • Sandalwood-processing industries
  • Community-based forestry