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Business Weekly 20 November


Rangoon gives go-ahead on Mayangone economic zone

A second Central Economic Zone is slated to be built in Mayangone Township in Rangoon next year, according to state media on Friday. The project, which will be constructed by First Myanmar Construction Co, will reportedly include a high-rise building, four offices, five serviced apartment buildings, cinemas, restaurants, electronics and trade centres, a five-storey shopping centre, and other business buildings, including a convention centre.


Business means jobs

The Myanmar Investment Commission said that it expects some 2,600 new jobs to be created by businesses approved in November, according to state media on 20 November. Despite the slowdown due to elections, seven domestic and overseas firms were given the green light to operate in Burma in manufacturing, construction and telecommunication services. The number of approvals in October was significantly higher, with a total of 23, mostly firms involved in clothes production, wood processing, and hospitality.


Germany pledges $28 million for rural development

The German government has pledged another 25 million euro (US$28 million) in financial and technical assistance to: rural electrification projects (grid extensions); a railways workshop in Sagaing Division; and support for aquaculture projects and alternative agriculture in southern Shan State townships affected by opium poppy cultivation. The aid also includes 250,000 euros in immediate relief for flood-affected areas in Arakan State.


Tourism officials urge more foreign consulates

Increased tourism in Burma should precipitate the need for more countries to open consulates, some key players said recently to Myanmar Business Today. “We are cooperating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work on this issue,” Tint Thwin, director general of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, is cited saying. The ministry estimates that 4.5 million foreign visitors will arrive in Burma this year, although experts point out that that figure includes day-trippers and traders crossing the border.


UK lawyers primed to open in Burma

British law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) announced on 12 November plans to open its first office in Burma. The firm currently has bureaus in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. On its website, BLP said, “Over the last few years, the Firm has made strong inroads into Myanmar and in 2013 advised [British construction company] Fosroc on what was seen as the first UK investment into the country since the enactment of the new Foreign Investment Law.”


KFC opens second outlet in Burma

KFC has opened a second outlet in Burma at Junction Square in Kamayut Township, Rangoon. The move comes as KFC announced its intention to become a key player in Burma’s fast-expanding consumer and retail sectors to Myanmar Business Today. “It is our aim to make KFC part of the fabric of everyday life in Rangoon,” said restaurant manager for KFC Junction Square Ma Honey Soe Nyein. Several more KFC outlets are reportedly set to open in Burma in early 2016.


Launch of new recruitment website

A new recruitment website is now connecting job seekers with employers in Burma. Internet holding company MMOne Online Group has just launched Jobnet.com.mm to tap the rapid growth of online recruitment. With a broad target market, the site is advertising entry-level and experienced positions, as well as roles for expats. “Our investment is significant and we intend to be the leading provider in our selected online markets,” said founder and CEO of MMOne Justin Sway speaking to Myanmar Business Today.


Cronies leave Burma ‘no longer resource-rich in timber’

Speaking recently at Chiang Mai University, US researcher Kevin Woods gave a blunt assessment on the future of the timber industry: “Valuable, marketable hardwoods have been long over-harvested. The remaining marketable timber that is accessible is quite few and far between now,” he said.

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US sanctions fears choke Burmese trade

Western banks are cutting trade finance in Burma after learning that part of the country’s main port is controlled by a man blacklisted by Washington, threatening to stop nascent US economic ties with the Southeast Asian nation in their tracks.

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