Population (2017): 53,370,610
GDP (2017): US$69,322,120,000
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 171
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2018): S$4 billion
Trading Partner Rank (2018): 34
Myanmar is sometimes referred to as one of the “last frontier” countries in Asia. With a population of about 54 million, young working population and an average and projected GDP growth average 6 – 9%, Myanmar has promising investment opportunities.
The youthful population is an emerging consumer market that offers opportunities for your business in food, retail and lifestyle. The number of middle-income consumers with higher purchasing power in Myanmar is expected to grow to 10 million by 20201.
With the country’s vast landmass and relatively young economy, there are opportunities in infrastructure, particularly in transport and connectivity, ICT and energy. Looking forward, Myanmar has much potential for growth, with new cities requiring smart and sustainable solutions.
At the same time, Myanmar’s agriculture sector encourages foreign investment and innovations in methods and technology. Owing to its favourable geographic location, fertile lands, and varied climates and crops, Myanmar could meet more of its regional neighbours’ food sourcing requirements.
1 “Vietnam and Myanmar: Southeast Asia’s New Growth Frontiers”, Boston Consulting Group, 2013
Myanmar’s business climate is improving, with the country making big strides to encourage a business-friendly environment. Initiatives include liberalising the banking sector to address business concerns about the access of capital, and opening up the telecommunications sector. It has passed new legislation to put in place a coherent legal framework for domestic and foreign investors, and simplified the company administration required.
Myanmar also wants to attract investment to its industrial sector. There are plans to develop three Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The first one, Thilawa SEZ, is already in operation in southern Yangon. The SEZ Law has made it easier to do business in Myanmar, by providing incentives such as income tax holidays, income tax relief, customs duty and import tax exemptions. There is also the option to lease land from the government or authorised private owners for up to 50 years, with the possibility to renew for a further 25 years.
As a Singapore company, you can take advantage of the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income Agreement between Myanmar and Singapore, for tax benefits when you invest in Myanmar.
The Myanmar business community is eager to collaborate with Singapore partners, whom they see as trustworthy and efficient.
Ride on the Singapore brand and enter the Myanmar market with well-connected local partners who can help you ease into the business environment. Your business can bring in management expertise and technological know-how, while Myanmar companies can help navigate the local customs and regulations that are difficult for foreigners to access. The active Myanmar diaspora in Singapore who are familiar with the language and customs of both places can help to bridge any cultural gap you may face.
Singapore is Myanmar's second-largest investor after China, with a cumulative investment of US$19.3 billion (S$26 billion)2. Our investments are concentrated in Yangon and the main sectors include hospitality, industrial and residential property development, and urban solutions like water and power utilities.
Find out how you can leverage Singapore's strong brand name, from Enterprise Singapore’s Yangon Regional Director, Audris Tan.
2 As of July 2018. Source: Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, 2018
Myanmar is located strategically between two of Asia’s most populous and rapidly developing countries – China and India – as well as the ASEAN countries of Thailand and Laos. It is at the crossroads in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, networks proposed by China to connect 65 countries across three continents via China.
If your business can take advantage of Myanmar’s attractive geographical location, it can mean gaining access to attractive trade routes in that region.