Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar

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On July 26, SME Support, JAPAN hosted the "Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar" event in Tokyo. The seminar was attended by 160 people affiliated with enterprises and the business talks was attended by close to 90 members of Japanese enterprises and Myanmar enterprises registered on J-GoodTech, a business matching site run by SME Support, JAPAN. The event was a chance for enterprises to explore business partnerships and other opportunities. One comment from a Japanese enterprise affiliate was representative of many other such comments: "I'm happy to have been able to hear directly from local enterprises while being in Japan. I'm very interested in further such talks." The Fukuoka event was held on the 28th.

Information gathering and personal connection building

The Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar event was put on by SME Support, JAPAN in conjunction with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Myanmar-Japan Center for Human Resources Development (MJC). More than 70 Japanese SMEs took part in the business talks, showcasing their technologies and products to executives from 16 enterprises and groups based in five cities (Mandalay, Monywa, Hpa-an, Yangon, and Naypyidaw). One thing that stood out was that, despite Myanmar's supposed status as "Asia's last frontier," many Japanese SMEs were looking to get information on and build connections with people in Myanmar precisely because it is a budding democratic nation.

Yutaka Onoki, president of AT O-Links (Minato Ward, Tokyo) said, "we are planning to sell puncturing instruments for drawing blood for the first time in Southeast Asia, and we see Myanmar as an opportunity. After we learn about the market, next we hope to develop connections. That is what brought us here this time." He is planning to exchange emails with a Myanmar company he had met with and seek out opportunities for partnership. Yoshihiro Oguri is president of Tsuyatomo , a manufacturer and distributor of materials for automobile interiors, among other products based in Ichinomiya, Aichi. He says, "We are thinking about establishing a base in Myanmar, but we don't know about things like trade and taxes in the country and we don't currently have anyone locally who is well-versed in these subjects. These talks were a good chance for us to get solid information on these things."

In search of business possibilities

One person who sees opportunities in Myanmar's major cities amid a booming construction industry in the country is the president of Kofu Bldg. Service (Kofu, Yamanashi), Tetsuji Sakamoto, whose company is involved in building maintenance. The company has field offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and participated in these talks in order to gather information in the hopes of expanding its business into Myanmar. "Although we are not currently in a position to do business in Mandalay, I think there will be opportunities in the future," says Mr. Sakamoto, who plans to continue gathering information.

The aim of Hitachi, Ibaraki-based Seikyo, a company that performs electrical work, fabricates switchgear panels, and manufactures cranes, is to collect information to help it determine whether it can contribute to a Myanmar-based project it was asked to help with by a large enterprise. At these talks, the company sat down with a Myanmar enterprise doing business in construction. Said Takamasa Suzuki, the company's president, "there was much that became clear through discussion, but there are many things we can't know until we go there. Once that gets ironed out, a tie up could be in the works." The likely process is an exchange of emails followed by a visit to the site, if there is an opportunity.

Hercules Glass Tech (Aoba Ward, Yokohama) says that it is not currently so large that it can establish an office overseas. Its focus is therefore on finding a local enterprise to whom it can license technologies. "One of the enterprises we talked with him took an interest in one of our glass products that can help save energy," says Section Manager Masahiro Ijichi. "If we can get them to market it, that could be the start of a business."

An abundance of enthusiasm

Among the Myanmar enterprises, as well, many used gestures and otherwise strived to excite interest in themselves. ミィント・ゾ is president of Aye Nyein Thi Tar Pharmaceutical, which produces and sells tablet and capsule forms of Chinese herbal medicines. In search of a Japanese enterprise with devices and technologies for inspecting the quality of formulations, he took part in the talks in the hopes of getting the ball rolling on establishing a joint venture with such an enterprise. Expressing his optimism, he says, "ideally, we are looking for an enterprise that can loan us its technologies and engineers. Setting up a joint venture would allow us to sell Chinese herbal medicine in Japan, as well."

Trust & Gain is a company that builds homes, schools, sports grounds, and hospitals, among other facilities. It currently owns land on which it plans to build a hotel. "We would love to receive investment, and we are looking to improve our exterior wall paint and steel (H steel) technologies, for example. We'd be interested in setting up a joint venture and work together with a Japanese enterprise (that has technical proficiency in these areas)," says the company's president, Kyi Tun. Every enterprise wants to capture the momentum of the country's democratic development to grow its business, expressing how getting ahead of the competition would require partnering with a Japanese enterprise.

Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Aung Tan, Mon State Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Hla Shein, and Monywa Industrial Zone secretary general ゾ・トン spoke on the advantages of the regions and industrial zones that they oversee. The enterprise representatives packed into the venue also heard from the Myanmar-Japan Center for Human Resources Development, the organizer of the event, which asked them all to work together. "There are many human resources in Myanmar. These are honest, capable people, and I would like you to teach them about Japan's economy and management techniques. We hope to promote mutual understanding here. Success in this effort will benefit the development of both Japan and Myanmar, and make Myanmar a better country."

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