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Ups and downs
The Burmese currency on Friday was valued at 1,105 kyat per US dollar; 178.04 per Chinese yuan; 17.276 per Indian rupee and 32.780 Thai baht. Gold was buying at 39,937.36 kyat per gram, and selling at 44,141.30 kyat per gram.
Thai energy drinks burst into Burma
Thai consumer product corporation Osotspa Co has joined forces with a local Burmese partner in order to expand further throughout the country, according to the Bangkok Post. The move is part of a five-year plan to boost Thai energy drink brand awareness in the neighbouring country.
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MetLife launches Burma office in bid to tap emerging market
US life insurance company MetLife Inc has launched itself into Burma’s emerging life insurance industry, Myanmar Business Today has reported, opening a representative office earlier this week. The paper quoted the company as saying it is now working with government regulators as well as industry players to study and develop the life insurance industry in Burma. MetLife received a licence for its representative office in Burma in 2013, along with 17 other foreign companies.
Burma’s land prices scare off Thai firm
Saha Group, Thailand’s leading consumer product conglomerate, has decided against setting up an industrial estate in Burma due to high land prices, according to the Bangkok Post. The group scrapped plans to develop its own industrial park on a 1,000-rai plot in Burma after studying the project’s potential for a few years.
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Regulate e-commerce, IT experts warn
Information technology experts have called for Burmese authorities to implement new laws governing e-commerce practices, as legal questions remain over online transactions. Online shopping has been growing in popularity throughout Burma, but threats of online scams and other disputes require more efficient payment platforms, experts say.
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Debt and deficit in Burma
Burmese business paper Myanmar Business Today has reported that Burma is heavily in debt, and the budget is running at a deficit despite taking numerous loans from other countries. The paper quoted Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Maung Maung Win as saying the country’s total foreign debt currently stands at US$9.29 billion, in addition to substantial internal debt. Maung Maung Win also added that greater transparency from the government was required, and that “the loans were not used in the way they were stated to be [used].”
Professionals flock to Burmese tourism and hospitality conference
More than 200 professionals gathered in Naypyidaw earlier this week for the 3rd annual Myanmar Hospitality and Tourism Conference, according to an event press release. Representatives from 15 countries met in the Burmese capital on 9 -10 June to discuss challenges and opportunities in “Myanmar’s booming hospitality and tourism sector”. Htay Aung from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is quoted in declaring that, “In 2014, Myanmar received over 3 million tourists with a growth rate of 51 percent … With such bright prospects for the tourism industry, Myanmar needs a sound hospitality infrastructure.”
Burma welcomes new 737 Boeing airplane
Myanmar National Airlines has welcomed the delivery of the airline’s first Next-Generation 737-800 airplane ahead of plans to expand the airline’s network outside of Burma, according to a press release issued by global public relations firm PRNewswire. The occasion also marks the first all-new Boeing airplane to be delivered to any Burmese-based airline and will feature the Myanmar National Airline’s new livery and interior.
Twitter opens first ASEAN office in Singapore
Social network company Twitter has launched its new a headquarters in Singapore on Thursday, hiring an additional 100 staff as it expands its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to US news station CNBC. The news group quoted Twitter Asia Pacific Vice-President Shailesh Rao as saying that Asia-Pacific is “already one of the largest and fastest growing regions for Twitter today.”