(continued) Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar

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At the "Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar" held by SME Support, JAPAN in Tokyo and Fukuoka, 110 Japanese SMEs and 16 enterprises and organizations from major cities in Myanmar conducted a total of 239 business talks. The events appeared to have been fruitful business matching opportunities, with several enterprises even talking about visiting the other's local production facilities. As an effort carried out in conjunction with J-GoodTech, a business matching site, J-GoodTech experts comprised of veterans from large enterprises helped facilitate individual business talks at the events.

Some enterprises cemented plans to visit local sites

149 business matches were made at the Tokyo venue and 90 were made in Fukuoka. Talks at both venues were conducted with much passionate physical and verbal communication. The events in Tokyo and Fukuoka were attended by 76 and 34 Japanese SMEs, respectively. Among these were enterprises registered on J-GoodTech. The CEOs from 13 leading companies and three organizations in the business communities of five major cities including Mandalay, Yangon, and Naypyidaw took part in business talks with Japanese SMEs, with staff from SME Support, JAPAN and J-GoodTech providing support.

As a frequently-heard sentiment, although the world has begun turning its attention to Myanmar as "Asia's last untapped business region," the country still lacks adequate infrastructure in areas such as power and communications. Nevertheless, it is clear that many Japanese SMEs are looking to pioneer business in the country because of the potential they perceive in the country's advancing democratization and economy. A Japan-based SME in the civil engineering and construction business in Hokuriku sat down with Ayeyarnagar, a construction company operating out of Naypyidaw. A director from the company expressed his intention to visit Ayeyarnagar's facility with the prospect of establishing a joint venture.

In another case, a Kanto-based process oil and fat manufacturer found a match with an organization in the Monywa Industrial Zone (under the UMFCCI), located in Myanmar's Sagaing Region. With the goal of procuring raw materials, the former made the decision to visit the latter's facilities. The two plan to hold further discussions concerning the possibility of a joint enterprise. Similarly, a venture company based in Kanto spoke with Monywa-based Aye Nyein Thi Tar Pharmaceutical in the hopes of finding a distributor in Myanmar. So fruitful was their discussion that the Kanto-based company even issued a formal price quote for products. Their progress will be something to watch.

A zest for gathering information

There are also many people passionate about gathering information for the sake of expanding business unto Myanmar in the future. Among the comments received, some said "although we are not currently in a place where we can do business in Myanmar, I foresee we someday will be," and "a tie-up could happen after we actually go there and learn what we need to know." Myanmar-based companies were largely welcoming: "we absolutely welcome investment," said チ・トン of Trust & Gain. Hopes are high for collaboration and partnerships with Japanese SMEs. According to a survey conducted by SME Support, JAPAN, 80% of Japanese SMEs and 71% of Myanmar enterprises at the Tokyo venue want to engage in further business talks. At the Fukuoka venue, 80% of Japanese SMEs and 67% of Myanmar enterprises felt the same — a strong majority in both cases. It would appear that Japanese SMEs and Myanmar enterprises matching up to do business in Myanmar is something that will pick up steam in the days ahead.

The present business talks were jointly organized by SME Support, JAPAN, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Myanmar-Japan Center for Human Resources Development. This was the first time that SME Support, JAPAN had worked with JICA to conduct a business matching event. Since the country's transition away from a military regime to a democratic one in 2011, Myanmar has been the business destination for numerous Japanese enterprises, including SMEs. These enterprises see the promise of rapid economic development as a result of regulatory reform and market liberalization. Since the formation of the new regime under Aung San Suu Kyi this past spring, Japanese enterprises have taken a wait-and-see approach to avoid the turmoil of political regime change. Now, the former momentum is beginning to return. Myanmar is rich in natural gas, jade, agricultural crops, marine products, and other such natural resources, and has a young labor force. As well as being a modernizing country in the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries, it is being seen as one of the strongest candidates for apparel manufacturing after China and Vietnam. Some believe collaboration and partnerships with Japanese enterprises will pick up speed if sufficient infrastructure is developed.

Learn about the "Myanmar Regional Enterprise CEO Business Talks & Seminar" is here