Opportunities to develop Myanmar’s infrastructure

Singapore infrastructure and construction firms received an overview of the opportunities in Myanmar at SBF’s Market Insights Seminar

Despite recent political concerns, the fast-developing Myanmar market holds many opportunities for Singapore players in the infrastructure, building and constructions sectors. Some of these were highlighted at the Singapore Business Federation’s (SBF) Myanmar Market Insights Seminar held on February 20, attended by more than 160 company representatives.

Driven by economic reforms, Myanmar’s economy is forecasted to grow at one of the highest rates is in ASEAN. As a historically agri-based economy, the country is now witnessing rapid industrialisation, primarily driven by foreign direct investment, said U-Yun Wong, Partner at strategy consulting firm Solidiance in a presentation at the seminar.

While current foreign investments is largely focused on low cost-labour intensive manufacturing, this is expected to transition towards more complex manufacturing
driven by import substitution and export promotion policies, he added.

In the past four years, many major projects – such as new malls, hotels, office buildings and hospitals – have been completed, said Mr Lee Leong Seng, General Manager of the Myanmar Office at Surbana. Many others, such as YOMA Central and the Yangon Central Railway, are currently ongoing.

Singapore-based Surbana is among the top three players in Myanmar in areas such as infrastructure, master planning, as well as architectural and engineering services, among others.

Below are the major sectors and key mega projects that Singapore investors and businesses could be interested in.

Potential Key Sectors in Myanmar

1. Infrastructure
There are opportunities to develop the country’s inadequate infrastructure in the form of roads, bridges, canals, railways, ports and industrial zones.

2. Energy
The Myanmar National Electrification Plan aims to achieve 100% electrification by 2030. Significant potential lies in the oil and gas, hydropower, coal and solar power industries.

3. Transportation and logistics
Both water and dry ports are needed to boost Myanmar’s logistics capacity. The government expects investors to improve and operate infrastructure to make the transportation of goods easier along the country’s rivers and roads.

4. Telecommunications and ICT
The liberalisation of telecommunication market started in 2013. Since then, this sector is expected to generate opportunities for investors.

“Myanmar is an important market for Singapore companies seeking new growth opportunities. It was ranked the second most popular market for overseas expansion in the Singapore Business Federation National Business Survey 2018/2019. The country has high potential for rapid growth and development given its rich natural resources, abundant labour force, and strategic location between the region’s two economic giants – the People’s Republic of China and India” said SBF’s Assistant Executive Director, ASEAN, Mr Thian Tai Chew.

“In recent years, the Myanmar construction sector has expanded rapidly to keep pace with the economic and urban infrastructure needs of its people and emerging businesses, as well as the rising interest in real estate. Given Singapore’s brand name and success in urban redevelopment, our companies are in a good position to tap the Myanmar market”, he added.

Remarks by Mr Tin Soe, Economic Attache-Counsellor, Myanmar Embassy in Singapore

Mega Projects in Myanmar

China Myanmar Economic Corridor
• Estimated to be 1,700 kilometres long, stretching from China’s Yunnan Province to Mandalay and the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone
• Part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative
• Myanmar has signed a 15-point MoU with China for this project

Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone
• One of the Special Economic Zones of Myanmar• Occupies 1,600 hectares
• A Singapore-based consortium has been assigned to develop the master plan

New Yangon City Project
• Involves the development of five new townships in Yangon
• Two bridges will be built to connect New Yangon and current Yangon, as well as 26 km of roads and 10 sq km of industrial estate, water and wastewater treatment plants, power plant, transmission and distribution facilities

Source: Enterprise Singapore

For more information on upcoming events on Myanmar and other South East Asian countries please enquire at market.asean@sbf.org.sg