Overview of business in Myanmar

Overview of business in Myanmar

Recently opened after decades of isolation, Myanmar is a new target for growth in Southeast Asia. With a large population and vast areas of the economy that largely underdeveloped, Myanmar is almost a blank canvas for rapid expansion of its economy and companies involved in the country.

Map of Myanmar (Burma)
Map of Myanmar
  • Official country name: Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma)
  • Capital: Naypyidaw
  • Total Area: 676,578 km²
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • Currency: Kyat, K – MMK
  • Drives on the: right
  • Calling Code: +95
  • Internet TLD: .mm

Demographics

  • Population: 51,486,253 (2014 census)
  • Population Density: 76/km²
  • Official Languages: Burmese
  • HDI: 0.498 (low)
  • Ethnic Groups:
    • 68% Bamar
    • 9% Shan
    • 7% Karen
    • 4% Rakhine
    • 3% Chinese
    • 2% Indian
    • 2% Mon
    • 5% other

The Burmese business environment

State seal of Myanmar
State seal of Myanmar

To ensure the successful transition of the economy from state-controlled industries to freer markets, the government wants to attract investors to develop infrastructures and supply products and services to its population. After a historic opening of the country, the Myanmar government has cleverly maintained the country's low taxes.

This new opening has generated a real estate boom, fueled by the increased arrival of tourists, expats and businessmen eager to doing business in Myanmar.

Key economic data of Myanmar

  • GDP (PPP): USD 311.074 Billion (2016 Estimate)
  • GDP per Capita (PPP): USD 5,953
  • GDP (Nominal): USD 68.277 Billion (2016 Estimate)
  • GDP per Capita (Nominal): USD 1,306
  • GDP Growth: 8.5% (2014 Estimate)
  • GDP by sector: (2014 Estimate)
    • agriculture: 37.1%
    • industry: 21.3%
    • services: 41.6%
  • Labor force: 32.53 Million (2011 Estimate)
  • Labor force by occupation: (2001)
    • agriculture 70%
    • industry 7%
    • services 23%
  • Unemployment: 37% (2012)
  • Inflation: 5.9% (2014 Estimate)

Main industries of Myanmar

  • agricultural processing
  • wood and wood products
  • copper, tin, tungsten, iron
  • cement, construction materials
  • pharmaceuticals
  • fertilizer
  • petroleum and natural gas
  • garments
  • jade and gems

Myanmar digital

Myanmar's digital population is rapidly expanding as more and more people now have access to mobile and expanding telecommunications infrastructures.

Digital in Myanmar 2018
Numbers of Internet, social media and mobile users in Myanmar in 2018

Myanmar trade data

With low trade volumes currently, Myanmar's economic opening now sets the country's towards important growth in the coming years.

Note: official export and import figures are underestimated and do not account for smuggling with neighboring countries.

Exports: USD 10.49 Billion (2016 Estimate)

Export Goods:

  • natural gas
  • wood products
  • pulses
  • beans
  • fish
  • rice
  • clothing
  • jade and gems

Main Export Partners: (2015 Estimate)

  • China 37.7%
  • Thailand 25.6%
  • India 7.7%
  • Japan 6.2%

Imports: USD 13.96 Billion (2016 Estimate)

Import Goods:

  • fabric
  • petroleum products
  • plastics
  • fertiliser
  • machinery
  • transport equipment
  • cement
  • construction materials
  • crude oil
  • food products
  • edible oil

Main Import Partners: (2015 Estimate)

  • China 42.2%
  • Thailand 18.5%
  • Singapore 11%
  • Japan 4.8%

Latest business resources for Myanmar

5 free maps of Myanmar

Free maps of Myanmar

Some maps of Myanmar can come in handy to detail ideas or projects for your website or blog, or to create your own maps. Here is a collection of copyright or royalty free, labelled and blank maps of Myanmar to be used directly as is, or to be elaborated upon to create beautiful modern maps that suit your purposes. Continue reading

Myanmar: 4 infographics on population, wealth, economy

Myanmar infographics

Recently opened to foreign business, Myanmar is emerging from decades of isolation to develop its economy and provide a better life to its relatively large population. This series of infographics presents key demographic and economic data of Myanmar, together with comparisons with other ASEAN and world-leading countries. Continue reading

The UNESCO World Heritage Site in Myanmar [photo]

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Myanmar

Though Myanmar is home to several exceptional natural and cultural touristic sites, it currently has only one site listed as a World Heritage Site of the UNESCO. However, this single site is formed of three ancient cities, which remains exhibit the ancient Buddhist tradition of Myanmar and its originality. Continue reading

Guide to taxes in Myanmar [brackets-incentives]

With a strong appetite for development, Myanmar has adopted a very accommodating fiscal regime. A low corporate income tax, a progressive but low personal income tax, no VAT but a light “commercial tax” and strong incentives, aim at attracting and helping companies to spur the development of Myanmar’s newly opened economy. Continue reading

Design can help rural Myanmar

Designing for rural people in Myanmar - TEDxInyaLake

The opening of Myanmar enables businesses, NGOs and social enterprises to venture further in the country and tackle challenges of rural areas as well as of cities. In the countryside, a social enterprise is applying cutting-edge design principles to alleviate difficulties of farmers and rural inhabitants. Continue reading

Overview of healthcare in Myanmar [market analysis]

Healthcare in Myanmar

With the opening of Myanmar’s economy, the healthcare sector has important difficulties to tackle to provide access to more and better services for a larger part of the population. In this transition, the country also presents very interesting opportunities for healthcare businesses and professionals. Continue reading

Guide to doing business in Myanmar

Doing business in Myanmar

Myanmar is the new frontier for business in Southeast Asia. A large and populated country just opening its doors to foreign companies and investors, Myanmar is rich with opportunities in many sectors. However, Myanmar also presents several technical and legal challenges to be managed and overcome by new comers. Continue reading

Business outlook in Myanmar

Business outlook in Myanmar

With its political opening, Myanmar is also experiencing an economic boom in various business sectors. Though companies face many challenges in areas of workforce skills and infrastructures, the general outlook for business in Myanmar remains quite positive for the coming years, as elections should create further opportunities. Continue reading

Energy for ASEAN’s less developed countries

Dam to produce hydroelectricity on the Mekong river

The access to reliable and affordable sources of energy plays a critical role in the economic development of any country. A report presented the challenges of Myanmar and Laos to manage their energetic resources and develop their economy in relation with their Southeast Asian neighbors. Continue reading

Mobile Internet in Myanmar

Myanmar mobile Internet

The mobile and Internet markets are very new in Myanmar and very few studies have been conducted to assess them. Through this presentation, On Device Research detail their findings about the opportunities, challenges and trends, leading brands and services in this fast-evolving interconnected technologies and industries. Continue reading