CHINESE DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS GO GLOBAL: MYANMAR AND THE DIFFUSION OF CHINESE SMARTPHONES

NEWS
Myanmar’s recent economic opening has prompted a dramatic upsurge in access to mobile phone and Internet technologies. Lower-cost smartphones finding their way across the border from China often have limited Burmese language support and come with WeChat and other Chinese apps preinstalled. This situation is resulting in a localised form of China’s digital ecosystem with Burmese characteristics.
(Source: Hong Kong Free Press, January 27, 2019)

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RESEARCH VIEW 

Overall, the steps Myanmar made since have been very encouraging, as evidenced by one of the world’s fastest mobile and smartphones penetration. Myanmar’s robust development is fueled partly by the adoption of ICT and the development of e-commerce. Business accelerators, venture capitalists and the ever-increasing number of tech start-ups are clear evidence that Myanmar’s e-commerce scene is booming – albeit from a low level. While Myanmar’s e-commerce future looks bright and could potentially boost growth in the retail sector, a considerable amount of work for the government remains, particularly in improving and updating the legislative and regulatory framework (addressing consumer protection, privacy, security of transactions, cybercrime, and other concerns in an online environment), ICT and payment infrastructure.

CITY LOFT OPENS FOR SALE ON THE BACK OF RISING DEMAND FOR THANLYIN PROPERTY

NEWS
Units of City Loft apartments in Thanlyin, Yangon, are now open for sale. Developed by Yoma Land Company, the project targets middle-class buyers. City Loft will occupy 22 acres of land in the StarCity compound in Thanlyin, another project developed by the Yoma Land.  Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to be complete in early 2020, will include units priced between K42 million and K160 million.
(Source: The Myanmar Times, January 24, 2019)


RESEARCH VIEW

This initiative from Yoma Land fosters home ownership and growth. Going forward, we continually advise developers to address issues around affordability by introducing competitively priced products, starting with looking at reasonably priced land. Buyers are likely to gain more confidence towards basic but modern developments, smaller in size and priced more reasonably. Favourable mortgage and deposit arrangements will change the residential market, which traditionally has been out of reach for majority, especially middle-income earners.

TOURIST NUMBERS RISE SLIGHTLY, CHINESE UP 38%

NEWS
Myanmar received 297,400 Chinese travelers through airports and sea ports. It was followed by Thailand with 291,231, and Japan with just 104,376 visitors. These figures do not include travelers who came into Myanmar through the land borders with border passes.
(Source: The Irrawaddy, January 28, 2019)

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RESEARCH VIEW
As of Q4 2018, foreign arrivals continued to rise given the sustained interest from Asian tourists, especially Chinese nationals. In fact, according to the latest tourism statistics released by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, China topped the list of travelers, attributed to the issuing of a visa-on-arrival for Chinese passport holders. While we remain optimistic that Asian tourist arrivals will further surge, Colliers believes that it is equally crucial that the government still initiate strategies intended for the revival of Westerners’ confidence, as travelers from this market source generate higher tourism sales receipts compared to Asian visitors. Commencing rigorous campaigns targeted towards the reshaping of the country’s tourism reputation should support this endeavor.