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September 21, 2019

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Daiwa Securities to Set Up Fund for Startups in Myanmar

Related imageTokyo, July 12 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group Inc. <8601> will shortly set up a fund for startups in Myanmar, informed sources said Friday. The brokerage group was involved in the establishment of the Yangon Stock Exchange in 2015. The number of listed firms on the exchange, however, totals only five.

The group aims to increase the figure by fostering startups through the fund. The total size of the fund is expected to reach some 30 million dollars. Its investors will include Tokyo-based Taiyo Life Insurance Co., which runs life insurance business in Myanmar. The fund will be in operation for some 10 years, pouring one million dollars into each startup.

Source: Nippon.com 

KB Kookmin Bank interested in expanding Myanmar business

Related imageKB Kookmin Bank, one of South Korea’s top four banks, is interested in expanding its presence in Myanmar with more financial products and services, especially in the areas of providing financing for housing and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs).

The expansion included collaborations with Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry for products and services tailored to SMEs, support for state-owned enterprises, digital remittance services for Myanmar workers in South Korea and collaborations with Construction, Housing and Infrastructure Development (CHID) Bank.

KB Kookmin, which applied for a banking license in 2014 but failed to obtain one, has had a presence in Myanmar through KB Finance since March 2017. The subsidiary provides microfinancing. The bank will need to acquire the license and strengthen cooperation with Myanmar especially in housing and infrastructure financing. Projects the bank has been active in include the Korea – Myanmar Industrial Complex and Dala township development, both in Yangon Region. The bank, which has a representative office in Myanmar since 2013, has conducted housing finance workshops with the Ministry of Construction, Central Bank of Myanmar and CHID Bank over the past five years.

Source: Myanmar Times 

Myanma Port Authority collecting rent from just two of nine Yangon water bus terminals

Related imageOf the nine port terminals of the Yangon Water Bus service, the Myanma Port Authority is collecting rent from just two_ K700,000 per month from the No4 and Lanthit terminals. The Myanma Port Authority is not charging any rent from the remaining terminals to help develop the water bus service. The nine port terminals of the water bus service are Botahtaung No4, Nanthida, Lanthit, Kyimyindine, Hline, Insein, Sarpachaung, Thamada, and the Antgyi shipyard in Dala Township, according to the Myanma Port Authority. At present, the Yangon Water Bus is running 11 ferries for 100,000 passengers. The number of passengers has decreased in the monsoon season.

Meanwhile, to extend the water bus route to the Pazuntaung creek, the Tint Tint Myanmar Company and the Department of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems have jointly conducted a feasibility study at a suitable location for establishing a jetty, and their report has been forwarded to the Yangon Region government. Plans to extend the water bus route to the South Okkalapa Pagoda have been submitted to the regional government. The Yangon Water Bus was launched on 7 October, 2017, and it has been providing ferry services on internal routes in Yangon City as well as on Kyauktan and Twantay routes for the past one-and-a-half-years.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar 

Cooperatives to get loans worth K200 billion

Image result for CooperativesMore than K200 billion will be loaned to cooperatives across the nation on Saturday, the United Nations’ International Day of Cooperatives, said U Myo Aung, director of the Department of Cooperatives. A total of K213.24 billion for small loans, seeds and farm upgrades will be extended. Previously, cooperatives provided only micro-finance services, but since 2014, they have expanded to loans for seeds and farm upgrades. Also, the cooperatives formerly relied solely on the savings of members, but in 2014, they began receiving Chinese loans.

Despite criticism about the high risk involved, the loans are extended and recovered once every six months. The department controls cooperatives to achieve sustainable development. Despite some criticism, cooperatives have created nearly 200,000 jobs.  Myanmar’s cooperatives were established 114 years ago. The Central Cooperative Society joined the International Co-operative Alliance in 1993.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

Electric meters to be made more visible

Related imageAn instruction has been issued to the relevant authorities to move electric meters from utility poles to more prominent place for the public, said U Soe Myint, deputy permanent secretary of Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The ministry has requested Yangon Electricity Supply Corp, Mandalay Electricity Supply Corp and Electricity Supply Enterprise, the three largest suppliers of electricity in the country, to carry out the relocation of the meters.

However, a time-frame for the completion of work has not been laid out. The ministry has also taken into consideration the possibility of meters being rigged by dishonest parties to lower their power bills. To counter the possibility, the readings of the meters through June 30 have been recorded. Action was taken against power company workers who colluded with business owners to rig meters in the past, and similar action will also be taken this time around if cases are detected.

There have been mixed reactions since the government announced the increase in electricity rates beginning this month. The rate increase was needed in order for the government to reduce the electricity production costs, to electrify other off-grid areas in the country and to establish a stable power supply.

Source: Myanmar Times 

UK invests US$1.7m in Myanmar mobile banking services

Related imageDaNa Facility and a microfinance institution will invest in a new mobile banking project which will extend digital financial inclusion to Myanmar’s unserved population in rural areas and disadvantaged groups.

VisionFund Myanmar (VFM), a UK-based microfinance institution, together with the Department for International Development (DFID)’s DaNa Facility will put down US$1.7 million for a financial services scheme for clients in the remote parts of Myanmar. VFM will receive assistance to upgrade their system and technology and utilise mobile applications so it can further expand its services to include women, migrant workers, and smallholder farmers.

VFM is also aiming to make partnerships with telecom operators to launch its mobile banking services. With such partnership, VFM will be able to increase the range of its financial services offered to clients beyond traditional loans, savings, and insurance, to include top-up, remittance, and bill payment facilities. This is in line with their social mission to expand and deepen client outreach and impact by offering affordable and sustainable financial services to otherwise under-served segments of the population. VFM and its partner will cooperate on educating the customers on financial and digital literacy.

Source: Myanmar Times  

Smart cards to be issued to all YBS drivers this month: YRTA

Related imageAll drivers employed with YBS bus lines will be given smart cards this month, said U Aung Nyi Nyi Maw, Managing Director, Yangon Region Transport Authority. The complete issuance of smart cards to YBS drivers is expected in July. There are more than 5,000 drivers who have applied for smart cards. The transport authority has said it will give first priority to drivers with large companies, followed by medium-sized companies, when issuing smart cards.

Once drivers from the large and medium companies are covered, then drivers from the remaining bus lines will be given smart cards, according to the YRTA. Once the smart cards are issued, the YRTA will have the personal information of every single driver, so it will be simpler for the authority to deal with complaints or take action against undisciplined drivers.

The YRTA will have a centralized database detailing the job history and work experience of YBS drivers. This will make it easy to trace drivers quickly. According to the transport authority, it is currently dealing with 1,012 cases involving driver indiscipline — four cases of drivers changing routes, 790 cases of fine receipt, and 218 complaints against drivers. In addition, there were 13 accidents involving buses, that left four people dead and 22 injured.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar to Change Text Encoding Standards This October

Image result for TypingThe government of Myanmar has decided to switch its text encoding to unicode from Zawgyi. This is part of its transition to e-government, since Zawkyi encoding does not comply with the international text encoding system.

The government has also ordered all of the telecom operators in the country to change their Zawgyi-encoded text messages over to unicode. Many companies hesitate to do this because most of their subscribers use Zawgyi-encoded fonts. Thus, the new standards will only take effect beginning October 1 of this year. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the operators must use unicode for their SMS, service guides, Facebook pages, and websites, replacing Zawgyi-encoded fonts.

The government has further ordered smartphone operators to import only devices that are compatible with unicode. Unicode has many advantages over Zawgyi. It can store data systematically, it is easier to search stored data, it is able to render text in alphabetical order, gives access to Google translation services, and also supports ethnic languages. The Ministry said that it is cooperating with the Myanmar Computer Federation to conduct awareness campaigns and distribute software that will help users change over to unicode.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Vietnamese Technology Corporation, Bkav launches new smartphone in Myanmar

Image result for Bphone 3Bkav, the Vietnamese handset maker, will launch its new Bphone3, which is one of the most technologically advanced smartphones in the market, in Myanmar this week. The company will partner with Vietnamese telecommunications operator Mytel, to bring the Bphone to Myanmar. The Bphone 3 will be available for purchase in nearly 100 Mytel stores nationwide starting from the first week of July. Bkav, the parent company of Bphone, is one of the leading Vietnamese corporations with business units in network security, software, smartphones, and smart homes.

Bphone is a well-known high-end smartphone in Vietnam. The launch events of Bphone 1 (2015) and Bphone 2 (2017) were both voted as outstanding technology events of the year. In December 2018, Bphone 3 was voted as the most favoured smartphone by prestigious technology review channels. At the same time, Bphone won the “Best Vietnamese Phone” award in Tech Awards 2018 organised by VnExpress – the most read Vietnamese newspaper and “Design of the year” by two other news sites. Many users have also have given positive feedback when using this latest smartphone of Bkav.

By purchasing Bphone, customers will enjoy the most advanced functionalities including super-qualitative AI Camera, IP68 waterproof, advanced security and anti-theft protection, and top-notch bottomless design; together with the best customer services. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Bkav will bring the technology and expertise to the country, while contributing to Myanmar’s human resource development. If Bkav becomes one of the manufacturers in Myanmar with a significant market share,  it will build factories in the country to optimise the product’s price. Being an OEM, we can easily realise such plans.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

Electronic cash transactions expected to surge over the next two years

Related imageElectronic cash transactions are seeing more adoption in Myanmar as people opt for the convenience of not having to withdraw money from banks or automated teller machines. As such, banking officials and financial technology firms believe that Myanmar would see significant developments of such payment systems over the next two years.

Recent study from Visa showed that in 2018, a quarter of 500 respondents preferred digital modes of payment compared to 2017 that saw only 3pc of respondents preferring digital modes of payment. The rising demand for convenience has seen banks and their partners offering more digital transaction services, with KBZ Bank launching KBZPay, a mobile wallet application, late last year. This app crossed more than a million downloads earlier this year and has since reached more than two million.

However, despite the increase in adoption, the different digital platforms available made it difficult to predict whether transactions through cards, mobile or QR code systems would become more popular. A recent Visa survey revealed that people were more interested in contactless payment and point-of-sales terminal systems rather the use of cards into slots. Recently, Shanghai-based UnionPay International launched a guidebook on cashless transactions, including for QR codes. The Central Bank of Myanmar said payments using QR codes could be launched this year when a standard for such payments has been implemented.

Source: Myanmar Times 

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