Twenty-first Century "maritime Silk Road" and the international communication platform

Myanmar: An Emerging Pioneer

2014-01-10 11:17:00   By:中国东盟传媒网    Hits:


Myanmar is a democratic federation in Indo-China Peninsula of Southeast Asia. As early as the 19th century, Yangon (Myanmar) was a shining pearl in Southeast Asia. The port, which was once well-known to Asia and the world, was located here in the British colonial period. As the local specialty of Myanmar, teakwood was constantly shipped to Europe through the port. At that time, the booming trading and bustling scenes in Yangon gained itself the name -- the pearl of Asia. And then, since 1930s, Myanmar was beset by earthquakes and wars and gradually forgotten by the outside world. Haunted by hunger, poverty, disasters, wars and sanction, the land was scarred. China was once the only friend of Myanmar.

The Door of Opportunity is Opened after Democratization

In March 2011, the new president- elect Thein Sein was doomed to be written into world history. He undertook a series of reforms including opening up Myanmar’s economy, deregulating country's censored media, releasing many political prisoners and realizing national reconciliation. What he has done not only gains him great reputation, but also brings his country vitality and hope. Myanmar was once a country that western nations imposed sanctions against it in the past. However, in 2012, both American President and British Prime Minister paid their visits to Myanmar. This is a historic progress. Western countries have begun lifting sanctions against Myanmar and provided considerable economic assistance. There is no doubt that the door of opportunity is opened in Myanmar.

It seemed overnight that Myanmar has undergone tremendous changes. Hotels are not adequate for guests; visitors and businessmen of different races appear on the streets of Yangon, Naypyidaw and Mandalay and so on. World’s media exclaims that it is another opportunity of Asia and no one wants to miss the chance to open Myanmar’s door. “If I could put all of my money into Myanmar, I would,” said Jim Rogers, an investment maven. According to him, “Myanmar is in the same place China was in early 1979. Myanmar is now opening up.”


The International and Domestic Environments Get Increasingly Relaxed

The poor infrastructure, feeble economic foundation and unordered financial market seem to be the defects of the system, which are viewed as the opportunity and paradise by “adventures” or “visionaries”. When people are holding back to see what happens next, some pioneers have already come to this unexploited land and were ready to make a fortune here. Myanmar enjoys an enormous prospect in the fields of infrastructure, mineral resources, financial services, industrial manufacture and agricultural upgrading. It is no doubt that the first comers will get the most. Myanmar has gradually opened its door in these fields and welcomed investors all around the world.

Since 2011, laws and regulations have been enacted or revised in Myanmar to improve legal system for foreign investment and attract investment in key areas. The changes have charmed a lot of investors. Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy of Myanmar returned to the political stage in 2012, and then the European Union lifted economic sanctions against Myanmar. After American President Obama’s visit in Myanmar, observers of the world believe that America will end all sanctions against Myanmar some day soon. As Myanmar’s market economic environment and international environment change, it becomes an indisputable fact that Myanmar will enter a period of rapid development.

What Chinese Enterprises Should Do

China is Myanmar’s “traditional” partner, which implied in the past that China has no competitors in Myanmar. Due to the sanctions, businessmen and enterprises in most countries were forbidden to trade with Myanmar. Hence, China enjoyed great advantages in Myanmar.

During the sanction period, China has assisted the Myanmar government in building a large of infrastructure projects which are essential to people's livelihood. The Thanlyin Bridge, linking the cities of Thanlyin and Yangon, has brought convenience to Myanmar people. The textile factory built by China is still working now, which has cultivated textile technical talents for generations. A variety of cultural shows are still performed in China-assisted theatre. More dust-laden stories will be unveiled gradually as Myanmar's censored media is deregulated.

The situation today is totally different. Chinese enterprises have to compete on equal terms with other countries on the platform of international cooperation. What should they do?

Chinese enterprises have international advantages in infrastructure, energy sources, natural resources and industrial and agricultural production, which happen to be urgently needed in Myanmar. Though facing competitions, China’s enterprises should keep in mind that a country with sound legislations and open international environment will better protect the interests of Chinese enterprises.

In addition, China’s banking industry has great foundation for international financial cooperation compared to Myanmar’s financial service organizations. Myanmar is the only country that all payments shall be made in cash. It is an evitable trend to integrate banking network and realize electronic commodity trading in Myanmar, which will also give China’s banking industry the chance to show its abilities.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang strongly recommended the technology of China’s high-speed trains during his recent trip to other countries. Myanmar needs high-speed trains though its infrastructure is weak. To develop China’s high-speed trains does not take a long time. The high-speed train is superior to common railway in technical added value, applied range and the significance of improving the image of China’s industrial technology. China’s high-speed train industry should be deployed in Myanmar as early as possible. Because connectivity is not only essential to industrial development, but also helps upgrade all-round cooperation at national level. It is wise to plan ahead.

Myanmar is going to chair ASEAN in 2014. It can be expected that Myanmar will have more opportunities to better show its chams to the world by attending the China-ASEAN Summit and senior officials' meetings in 2014. Myanmar’s future maybe is another miracle of Asia. 

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