Member of the month

Vadim Nunez Pawlosky – Country Manager - RAZEL-BEC MYANMAR


A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN:

Razel MYANMAR is a fully owned subsidiary of Razel-Bec, the civil works division of the Fayat Group, 4th largest construction and related services in France. As a civil works contractor, we build all type of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, airport strips, water treatment plants, Dams and Tunnels.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Our aim is to work on mid-range to large construction projects in the infrastructure sector with a special focus on complex projects such as Hydropower Plants, which combines our expertise in two complex fields: the Dams and the Tunnels.  

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR?

We registered our subsidiary in parallel to the contract signature for the Underground Works of the Upper Yeywa Hydropower Project, which we carry out through a JV with our local partner. No more contracts have been signed so far, but the aim of establishing a subsidiary shows the will to develop the Myanmar market in the long term.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS ?

I have seen very little change in our industry since we established the first contacts back in 2014. The people we deal with are still the same and the upper levels of the administration seem to be less accessible –maybe because they are too busy-. The infrastructure industry is still moving, in my humble opinion, too slow if we compare it with the huge need of the country; however, in the last months I do feel some of the projects we are interested in are moving finally forward and that could lead to a capitalisation of the experience earned so far.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Myanmar is a promising market because of its huge potential -as almost everything is yet to be done-. In addition, the will of the local authorities to develop the country’s economy in order to rise up the people’s living standards is in place. However, despite this, the business culture remains highly marked by the long years of autarchy and isolation. This is the reason why Myanmar is still an extremely challenging environment to develop an activity according to international standards.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I spent 2 years travelling almost once a month from Paris before settling down in Yangon 2 years ago and I could spend much more time in here. I think that life in Myanmar is good for expatriates like me because people are usually smiley and willing to help, their peaceful character makes me feel welcome. In addition, due to the opening process of the country, a lot is happening in Yangon right now, and every day there are new opportunities of leisure to forget about the power cuts and heavy traffic.
Having said that, I am happy to go back to France from time to time, usually twice a year, meet family, friends and colleagues.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

The first 6 months in Yangon were quite hard: it is not easy to land in a new country and even tougher when the culture gap is so significant. My recommendation to cope with these initial difficulties is to try to feel at home as soon as possible: set up a place to live that you like and where you feel comfortable, combine your work with other activities such sport, cinema and exhibitions, and last but not least, find some friends to avoid loneliness.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Uffff…I have a lot. I shall name a few: the Dhammayangyi temple in Bagan, the estuary of the Kaladan River in Sittwe, The surroundings of the Upper Yeywa Project after the rainy season. I also love to visit the Shwedagon Paya from time to time, especially at dusk, and I have a particular attachment to the Savoy hotel, the first hotel I visited in Myanmar.



Mr. GEOFFREY HAMILTON - Chief Executive Officer - Exera

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Exera is the largest provider of international-standard security services in Myanmar. We supply guarding, security infrastructure project management, cash-in-transit, investigations and security risk assessments for multinational companies and UN/INGO agencies operating in Myanmar.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

We see our role as being a standard-setter of sorts for security services in Myanmar, introducing international practices and innovative techniques to this market. We recognize that international companies have a role to play in capacity building here, and we pride ourselves on having that sort of positive effect on the security sector in Myanmar.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR?

Five years ago the company was a start-up founded by an ex-UK special forces officer and a lawyer with a background in international risk; their first office was in a building over the chicken and duck market in Mingalar Taung Nyunt. Today we have over 1,100 employees working in every state and division of the country. It hasn’t always been easy to sustain that pace of growth – I think we’ve experienced the whole range of challenges international companies normally have to overcome when they roll out operations in

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

Myanmar’s security sector has changed quite dramatically over the five years we’ve been here. Initially it was dominated by crony-linked companies and the only international clients were the UN agencies. As multinational companies have entered the market, they’ve raised the bar for quality demands and for integration of security processes with their global health, safety and environment (HSE) systems. They’ve also begun insisting on scrupulous adherence with the Labour Law and international employment practices, an area that has been subject to a lot of abuse. Because of this, it’s getting harder for security companies to cut corners on the backs of their employees, which is nice to see.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

While Yangon is superficially quite secure (particularly in comparison to other big cities in Southeast Asia), the political dynamics sometimes reveal how changeable things really are. The assassination of U Ko Ni outside the Yangon airport in January is a good example of how quickly this apparently benign environment can shift gears. Having processes and plans in place to be able to adjust when things change is the key to keeping your employees safe and your business continuity on track.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I’m from Quebec, the French province of Canada, and lived for a year in France when I was younger, so I was pleased to see that there’s such an active French community in Yangon when I arrived. Our General Manager of Protective Services is also a retired

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

It’s so easy to get frustrated trying to do apparently simple things that you can forget to appreciate how fortunate we are to be in this remarkable place at this point in its history. There’s more than enough here to make up for the occasional frustrations; just try to keep things in perspective.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Being a Canadian, I appreciate the chance to get a bit cold (or as close to it as possible) whenever I can. I think everyone knows about the cool hills in Shan and Chin states, but I have a soft spot for the mountains in Tanintharyi.

Christian HEUGAS – General Manager - JJ-PUN TIOSTONE

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

JJ-Pun is a Joint Venture between the ASEAN conglomerate Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) and Myanmar based Serge Pun Associates (SPA). JJ-Pun brings world class technology in sectors related to construction materials, cable, chemicals & ingredients, material handling and healthcare. As far as the Construction Materials is concerned, which I am managing, we benefit from the experience of another partner in Hong Kong, Tiostone Co. Ltd, who brings in his know- how. We are manufacturing locally concrete blocks for building wall partitioning and concrete pavers for landscaping and driveways


WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

In an environment where Mom & Pops and industrial manufacturers are competing in similar projects, we aim to be recognized as the first choice for professionals.
Through our equipment, our quality control process and our services, we offer a differentiation.
At first, we are targeting construction projects in the high segments, where quality is a criteria of choice. In our diversification, we recently penetrated YCDC in the public sector and we now aim to reach some distributors.
Our technical sales team is part of a push strategy enabling us to demonstrate to the clients the quality of our offer.


HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR

The initial investment in 2014 relied on some projects from our partner SPA for whom real estate is one of their core business. After 3 years, we have managed to emancipate ourselves and now the majority of our sales are exogenous thanks to our network. We have captured some key customers developing infrastructure projects. Some market uncertainties remain but we will consider increasing our capacity if we keep on growing. Also, we are enlarging our product portfolio.
A positive sign of JJ-Pun awareness among the stakeholders in the industry is coming from calls from potential customers we didn’t approach but who heard about us.
Surfing on this trend, JJ-Pun is willing to expand and enlarge the scope of its activities in the construction materials sector. We are open to potential investors who would be interested in developing their activities in Myanmar.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

There is a lack of norms and standards in Myanmar.
With the improvement of the living conditions, we can see an increased demand for quality in terms of materials and support from some decision makers in the construction sector.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR

Since the opening of the Myanmar economy, the risks in investing in Myanmar is minimum. Nowadays, the question is more about the timing for return on investment. If the engagement in the country is without a strong and sound local partner, investment could be made gradually.  Rules and regulations in all sectors are not established yet but it is worth it to make a move and be among the first in its sector to drive the market while it is still possible.


YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

Working hours may be long but I live near my office so the impact of the traffic is reduced. During free time, I enjoy discovering hidden buildings or houses from the colonial period.
A good point in Myanmar is that you can make local friends, as they are genuinely open and interested in other cultures.
Despite the fact that I have worked all the time overseas, my attachment to France remains strong. Unfortunately, my company doesn’t have any link with France but I make sure I return to my home country once a year.


YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

The country is in a transition phase and it is an experience to be part of it.  From a business point of view, it is an unique place where we can use a large variety of tools to penetrate the market. Internally, retention of personnel is not a challenge (yet) as long as they are gaining experience in an international company.
Grasping the local environment with humility and determination greatly helps. The appreciation of the positive aspects of Myanmar overcomes the inconveniences one could face.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Kalaw is a place I like to visit when local ethnies from the area are wearing their traditional clothes during festivals. The Kokang State within the Shan State is also a region I enjoyed to explore for its landscapes.
As far as restaurants are concerned, my favourite places in Yangon are Pansurya, Rangoon Tea House and House of Memories.

Adam Michael CASTILLO – Managing Director - Atalian Global Services Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Atalian Global Services Myanmar is a Facility Management service provider, Atalian helps its customers focus on their core business by making it possible to outsource over 85% of their facility and support functions. Formerly Scipio Services Company Ltd., our core business is Facility Manpower – Security, Cleaning, and Maintenance – the three pillars of Facility Management. With our subsidiary Myanmar Assurance Company (MAC Security), our strongest service on the market currently is Security Officers (Guards). With the strength of an International Group (Atalian Global Services) partnership and the flexibility of an independent company, Atalian Myanmar is Myanmar’s only service provider of integrated facility management.

 

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

We work for the people of Myanmar – we are workers and we are here to develop Myanmar’s workforce from a grassroots level. My strategy has always been based on the fundamental idea that a “Myanmar problem, needs a Myanmar Solution.” Organizations and investors can come to Myanmar to build successful businesses, but ultimately, true success will not be achieved by foreigners or any foreign run organization. Success of our organizations and this country ultimately lies in the hands of the people of Myanmar. This is the very essence of our strategy.
Build a company – with international standards and compliance
Develop a Myanmar workforce to ultimately take over its executive leadership and management
Organizations always talk about passing the “torch” to younger leaders – this must happen with our Myanmar workers- Develop them, empower them, so that they may take up the torch of our organizations and lead us to greatness. We believe this is the key for success not only with our company and the market, but for the future of Myanmar.

 

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR

When I arrived in December 2013 to found MAC Security with then Scipio Services, we had 8 security guards. We now have over 550 employees to date.

 

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

None- we need more foreign investment. This is a problem that is plaguing everybody’s industry. With Facility Management, we ultimately target large developments that need to outsource the facility functions. However, without investors looking for office spaces the developer’s building remain empty- costs get cut and we are the first to get cut. With regards to security, private security companies are essentially self-managed right now to adhere to laws and international compliance. The most effective regulators for private security companies are large multinational customers that mandate compliance upon rewarding contracts and ensure this compliance though their audits. There must be changes at the government level on this front to create a more transparent security sector.

 

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR

Look to the people of Myanmar – I see far too many foreign organizations hiring local manpower at high salary levels but when they leave those organizations they have no skills – specifically leadership skills.  Empower your local staff, teach them everything you know about your business and leadership. Your goal should be to replace yourself with a local leader. If they are not up to the task, then you move on – never settle for someone that just wants to be there for a pay check. We are at a critical moment in the history of this country and we need to be a positive influence on the labour force in the market.
On the note of positive influence, set an example as a leader. This is a small city and a small business community- behave yourself on the weekends and around social environments. Your conduct reflects the foreign business community not just you.
Be part of the solution – not the problem

 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

As noted before we were formerly Scipio Services until partnering with Atalian Global Services. Atalian was founded in France in 1944 as a cleaning company and is headquartered in Paris. It is now a multinational Facility Management company (with their partnerships) that employs over 95,000 employees around the world and run 1.6 billion (Euro) in annual revenue globally. For more information on Atalian’s experience please visit their website en.atalian.com. We are excited to be part of the chamber as our roots were founded in France.

 

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Put in the work –
When nothing makes senses (trust me it will happen) – put in the work
When you feel like quitting and jumping on a plane to escape this place – put in the work
When all your peers decide to go out on the weekend – put in the work
Work is the key to success in this country – hard work – 7 days a week- there is no days off. This is a once in a lifetime moment for all of us – a historical opportunity that comes around rarely – there is no tomorrow. We need to help this country succeed now not only for their sake, but for ours – our fates are tied.  You made the decision to come here – now do yourself a favour – put in the work.

 

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Bagan is quite experience that I recommend for anybody visiting or that is new. On that note of Bagan – Sharky’s Bagan is something special – check it out.



Vincent LORENTZ – Business Development & Key Accounts

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

InsurExcellence is a well-established insurance broker, with our head office in Thailand, and clients across SE Asia.  We handle Group or Corporate insurance for companies of all sizes, and our biggest practice area is Employee Benefits such as Health and Life Insurance for local staff and management, including expatriates.  We have been actively assisting our clients in Myanmar for 3 years now, and are the clear market leaders in handling Group Health plans for local staff.  In addition, our capabilities also include Property and Liability insurances for Myanmar risks. 


WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Our company’s near term strategy is quite simply to build on the strong foundation we’ve built over the past 3 years doing business in Myanmar.  In so doing, our clients will benefit from a better choice of products, a better service platform with more options, at increasingly competitive premiums.   Longer term, as the insurance industry matures, we see our strategic direction including a more active role in helping shape the industry trends by, for example, participating on insurance panels working with the government to form policy and regulations. 


HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR ?

We first started exploring the Myanmar market in 2012-13, at the request of a multinational client asking for help to provide a health insurance plan for their 1,500 local staff.  We were already managing the health plan for their expatriates, so were happy to explore expanding our service offering to include local staff.  We quickly realized, however, a local health product wasn’t available in Myanmar!  So, we spent the next 12-18 months studying the healthcare delivery system, interviewing companies and meeting with reinsurers  - basically creating a business plan to develop the first genuine health insurance product for local staff in the market.  In the middle of 2014, we launched a product in conjunction with LAMP Insurance, a UK based insurer backed by Lloyd’s of London.  Thus, we are proud to say InsurExcellence is really the pioneer of private health insurance for local staff in Myanmar.  Some 3 years later, we now have a very large portfolio of clients that includes multinationals, as well as local Myanmar companies.  Currently, we have two Myanmar staff and two dedicated expatriate staff looking after our operations in the country.  In summary, we have seen tremendous growth as a company, and remain very committed to continued growth in Myanmar for InsurExcellence. 


WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS ?

In fact, the insurance industry has undergone quite a lot of change since we first started studying the market over 4 years ago.  Previously, there was only one government insurer, Myanma Insurance, who also had the role as insurance regulator.  Now there are 12 local insurers and 3 Japanese insurers, although they’re licensed to underwrite a limited class of risks and only in the Thilawa SEZ.  The government has also announced plans to further liberalize the insurance industry to foreign players in 2017, though details are scant thus far.  Finally, the role of insurance regulator was changed recently from Myanma Insurance to the newly created Insurance Business Supervisory Board, under the Finance Ministry.  We firmly believe the industry will continue to see many changes and reforms in the coming years ahead, which can only benefit the people of Myanmar, as they will have more choices and better service standards available to them in the future. 


WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

We have found the business environment to be very representative of the country as a whole – fast changing!  The business culture still has a strong local flavour, so to speak, but we also see more international standards taking hold and a tremendous willingness to learn and adapt, especially among the younger working population.  There is a very positive energy in Myanmar, which is inspiring. Admittedly, you will find a lot of bureaucracy still gets in the way of “doing business” efficiently.  We expect those habits to give way to a more modern way of doing things in their own space and time.  As long as foreigners and foreign firms understand the need for patience and to be appreciative of the fact that a business culture which lasted many decades doesn’t change overnight, you’ll be fine!  

 
YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I am based in Bangkok however I come in Yangon every week for 2/3 days. I am very happy to be witness to the positive changes and development in your country.
I am French therefore all my old friends and Family are in France.
I also have business relationships with many French companies in Myanmar and hope to develop these relationships further


YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

You will certainly enjoy your time here, as the people in Myanmar are the same as Thai people, they always have a smile.
Don’t forget your umbrella, for the sun and the rain !
Prepare yourself for the traffic !

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Unfortunately, I have not had time yet to travel out of Yangon, this is my priority.
In Yangon, for relaxation, I like running around Inya Lake.
I also enjoy the many restaurants in Yangon and my particular favourites are Shwe Sa Bwe and Gekko

Mai Lam DONG - Country Manager - Schneider Electric

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€27 billion in FY2015, our 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.
In Myanmar, Schneider Electric has officially started up the operation since 2013, with head office in Yangon. We are currently employing about 30 local staffs with local service and warranty capability, and present in all major market segments such as Building, Industry, Infrastructure, IT & Finance.
We are having more than 10 partners (distributors, panel builders, system integrators) across the country to make sure our products, solution, and service can be delivered to the doorstep of customers with the highest level of service.


WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Our strategy in Myanmar is to provide customers with all the best-in-class products and full solution of energy management & Automation. Whether it is a building, a factory, a datacentre, or a home user,  we are having full integrated offers such as Medium Voltage Switchgear, Dry Transformer, Busway, Low Voltage Switchgear, Switches & Sockets, Industrial Automation & Control, Lighting Control System, Room Control System for Hotel, Building Management System (BMS), Energy Efficiency & Power Quality audit, UPS, Rack, Cooling for Datacenter, etc…
We build local service capabilities such as maintenance, local warranty, testing & commissioning, to give our customers a peace of mind when using our products & solutions.
We work with more than 10 distributors, panel builders, system integrators to ensure the availability of our products in the market, via local inventory and extensive reseller network coverage in Yangon, Nay Pyie Taw, Mandalay, and other states.
We invest to develop the competency of our local resources and also actively participate in the Vocational trainings to build the world class quality of both workforce and electrical standards for Myanmar.
Last but not least, we make sure Life is ON everywhere, for everyone, at every moment through our Corporate Social Responsibility program called “Access to Energy” that providing many residences in the remote areas with solar light & electricity, because we believe Life is ON when Energy is ON.


HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR ?

With more than 4 years of operation in Myanmar, Schneider Electric has been growing very fast in resource, business, and network coverage. Today, we are having partnership with more than 10 distributors, panel builder, system integrators, and continue to expand our operation to Mandalay with local representative there in 2017.
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS ?
Landed to the country for less than a year, I have seen many changes in the business environment. What I feel positive is to see the bidding process is getting more and more transparent. I can also see our partners and customers are more structure and resilient in both cash flow management and inventory management, which are critical to maintain sustainable business growth.


WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

What I can see is the huge potential of business in Myanmar, especially in Energy management sector. However, the lack of standard & regulation, the inadequacy of skill workers, the inefficiency of financing system to businesses, the risk of cash flow, the slow logistic process are some real challenges to materialize such potential. Things are changing very fast here and so the business environment. We need to maintain the high level of agility to adapt and to find the way to grow our business. The key is to find the right partners, develop a competent local team, and also be patient.


YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

My 9 months in Myanmar have been a great journey and with many surprises. My great moments here were about enjoying peaceful times with family on the park, lakes, nice restaurant, and weekend golf with friends and partners. I have travelled to Ngwe Saung beach and it was beautiful, except the road quality of five hours drive.
Regarding my relation with France, I’m having some good friends in French companies and would like to continue to expand my network and be more active to contribute to the development of CCI France Myanmar as well as French business in the country.


YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Be open & patient, careful with street food, be aware of the flood, water quality & back-up power supply when searching for a home, and bring only brand new USD notes to the country J. But despite all these things, if you are looking for a friendly country where you can trust the people on the street, fully enjoy the peaceful moment with family at the weekend, this is the right country for you to work with.


YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

I like the golf courses, Inya & Kandawgyl lakes in Yangon. My favourite restaurants are Fou Man Lau Chinese restaurant in Inya Lake and L’Opera Italian Restaurant in 7 miles. The Yangon Tea House in the city is also great for Burmese food.

 

Edmond Rocher – General Manager - Jardine Schinder

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Jardine Schindler, a joint venture between the leading global provider of mobility solutions Schindler of Switzerland, and Jardine Matheson, a diversified business group focused principally on Asia. As a pioneer in the elevator and escalator industry in Myanmar and the only market player to operate directly without the use of agents and distributors, Myanmar Jardine Schindler already provides services to a number of key customers with more than a decade of experience. As a leading mobility industry expert, Myanmar Jardine Schindler has been involved in the design, supply, installation, modernization and maintenance of elevators and escalators found in many iconic buildings in Myanmar including the Novotel Hotel, Chatrium Hotel, Park Royal, Mingalar Mandalay.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Company’s Strategy in Myanmar is to remain the number one through customer service and ensure our growth. To do that, we are always investing on a long term based. Myanmar Jardine Schindler is following the 5 core values from our Group in Switzerland : Safety, Quality, Integrity, Added values for customers and people development. We have invested heavily in our people by local and overseas training and have started a long term relationship with the Centre for Vocational Training (CVT), a Swiss based apprenticeship model. On top of this partnership, we will open next year our own dedicated training centre with test shafts to support our growth. We train 25 new students every year and next year will increase this to 50 apprentices and extend the program from 1 year to 2 years program to add in more quality.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR ?

Myanmar Jardine Schindler have been established in 1999 and we never left. Our headquater is in Yangoon, we employ over 250 employees. In 2016, we opened one new office in mandalay and one new office in Taungyi. We are also in Naypitaw and we plan to continue our geo-expansion by opening one more office in Mawlamyine next year. The new offices will act as a hub for the company’s expansion and continued dedication to excellence. Myanmar Jardine Schindler’s geographical expansion will help the company meet the demands of the recent national construction boom and enable Schindler to further enhance service levels by offering a range of state-of-the-art mobility solutions that are relevant to the building industry. It is of the group’s strategy to consolidate its presence in fast growing markets. We see this major step as exemplifying our long-term commitment to Myanmar and our customers as we continue to invest in our people and services.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS ?

The biggest change in our sector during the last few months have been certainly when the current government took power in April, it suspended construction of all high-rise projects, pending an inspection to ensure all developers were following the rules. The idea was to assess the impact of each building on the city’s character, on traffic and on the environment. It is a good way to thing but it still need to get clear rules which was not the case. Like in many sectors in Myanmar, new rules still need to be drafted which give us a great opportunity to have new challenges ahead. I am used to say that each difficulty is an opportunity to learn and grow.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Myanmar is really different than others countries. Potential is enormous and the growth is here, however it will not grow so quickly than we could expect. It will take time and it is certainly a great opportunity to grow with a sustainable growth on the next years. I always remind here people are working with heart. They are working mainly based on the relationships and as everyone know good relationship don’t just happen, it takes time, patience and people who truly want to work together.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I am just arrived in Myanmar with my wife and my children early this year. We have been well welcome by people here and after few months to settle down our new house, we are really enjoying our life here.

Regarding my relations with France, I would like to extend my relations especially with Entrepreneurs network between France & Myanmar. I am sure there are great opportunities to bring business growth for French companies which are looking for international opportunities. I plan to connect the “Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association” and the “Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprise” en France. If anybody have more idea, please feel free.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Be patient, Be adaptable, Be ready to be surprised

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

I do not have yet any favourite place however I went to Hpa An with my family few months ago and we really enjoyed this trip. I remember during our visit of Saddar cave, we did not prepare anything and we went through under the mountain and after a very long walk with kids in a very dark cave, we discovered a really very nice landscape and nice people who proposed to bring us back using their pirogues. Welcome in Myanmar!

Christophe Felix - CEO - Okkar Thiri

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN
Okkar Thiri Co started in 1998 with the idea of supporting with technical expertise medical and laboratory equipments in country,
The team was by then composed with 12 people and with the support of few manufacturers ready for the adventure we started a training program of our technicians that enable us to be recognize later on by end users as a reliable partner in the medical field.
Our team is nowadays composed of 150 people with offices in Yangon and Mandalay and intervention all over the country for medical technical support.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR
As précised above, our strategy was somehow simple: “To become useful”.
And this is why our company motto is still “Since 1998 we care...”
To achieve this goal we have since then tremendously develop our technical team expertise with trainings in country and training abroad, and by now 35 Biomedical, engineers and 10 application specialists support the installation and service of more than 5000 equipments in Myanmar.
Our product line ranges from simple baby incubators to Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Linear Accelerator for cancer treatment.
We are nowadays in a position to offer turnkey solutions to laboratories and hospitals.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR
From year 1998 the year we started, until year 2000 the growth went from 150.000 USD to 8 M USD a year and it remained quite stable until 2010.
Since 2011, it has been steadily doubling each year.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS
We have seen more and more external cooperation since 2011, with health seminars and workshops to support education and professional expertise.
Government also developed much bigger efforts to upgrade national hospital’s and facilities budget for equipment went from 6 MUSD to 40  M USD annually.
Private sector sees a beginning of interest from international partners to develop their presence in Myanmar.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR
For people who are already here they must already know that Myanmar is not an easy market, there is a local expertise, which can make competition very tough.
Better to start upfront with the right partner.
There is also too few skilled employees available on the market and one need to be ready to integrate in their development strategy a strong concept of internal training.
On the positive side, the efforts are finally worse the results as there is in Myanmar an interesting customer loyalty, which guarantee long terms relationships.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE
I started to live in Myanmar in 1996 and I felled in love with the country and its people my comments on this matter might not be very objective... 
Myanmar taught me many things, to be patient, to be compassionate and to meditate as often as possible when things do not go the way I plan them.
It literally changed my life and my relations with other.
I have also in France a wonderful family and friends that I do not see much but I accept it as part of my life choices.
I still hope to be in a position later on to retire in a peaceful place in Myanmar and to enjoy few months with my French family and many months in Myanmar with my Myanmar family.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR
Be patient, there is a lot of thing to learn in Myanmar before you can teach anybody.
People do things for a reason, it might not be the always best right now and needs to be adapted to the new era but it’s always done with good will.
I tend to summarized it as follows:”We need to understand that if in our country the straight line is the shortest distance from one point to another, in Myanmar it can be the longest if you do not pay attention to the sensitivity of people.”

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR
There are many beautiful places in Myanmar and it all depend on what you are looking for when you visit them.
Since I love the sea, I found a beautiful place 5h west of Yangon near the sea, between Ngapali and Chaungtha and I love to relax there on its wild beaches.

Marc Guyonnaud - General Manager - AGS Four Winds Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

AGS FOUR WINDS MYANMAR is an international moving company specialized in door-to-door services. We are part of the AGS Group, one of the biggest moving companies in the world with a network of 129 Agencies in 86 countries. I set up the company in Myanmar in November 2015 and we are offering a wide range of services (international moves by air and sea, storage, archive storage…)

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

We are one of the few moving companies in Myanmar able to offer an in-house, door-to-door service for international moves. AGS being in charge at both ends.

For moves, which include an origin or destination in a country where we do not have a branch, we work with removals partners chosen on strict criteria and with whom we have developed special relationships. Offering the most complete door-to-door service to our customers enables us to move our clients anywhere across the world and to offer the same top quality service from departure to arrival

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR

This is our first year of activity so this is a bit early to talk about growth, but our objective is definitely to become the reference in the moving industry in Myanmar.

We say in the moving industry that an import shipment properly handled is a future export shipment. I try to be personally present on all jobs, import and export, to show our commitment to our customers.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR

Patience is very important. Rules are almost changing on a daily basis especially in our business (logistics, transport) and things can be very slow sometimes. When working in the service industry, keeping in touch with your customers to give them updates is very important.

You also need to find the right partners / sub-contractors to properly handle your business. In order to do so, discussion with other business managers and participation in networking events will definitely help.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

We really enjoy living in Myanmar.

My wife and I just had a baby boy. He is 3 months old now. There’s no trip to France planned in the near future, but frequent skype communications with family in France keep us in touch.

We also decided to get married in Yangon at the beginning of next year. Friends and family from France will come to celebrate this event with us in Myanmar.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Choose the place you will be living in wisely, as traffic can be a nightmare in Yangon.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

With the setup of the company and the baby, we have not had much time to visit other places in Myanmar yet, we have mostly stayed in Yangon.

We really appreciate the Opera restaurant. The food is very good and the owner Giorgio is fantastic.

We also enjoy going to the Sunday brunch at Rachel restaurant within the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. The buffet is excellent (a French chef) and the view of the Kandawgyi Lake is amazing.

Robert Tyler - Country Manager - International SOS

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

International SOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for our clients across the globe, from more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries.
In Myanmar, International SOS was the first to provide organized medical and security assistance, evacuations and site-based medical staffing solutions to our clients. During the past 29 years, we have developed and maintained a network of credentialed 3rd party medical providers to support our members throughout Myanmar.
We currently employ over 70 employees in Myanmar. Over half of these employees are medical professionals. The clinic we operate in Yangon hosts an international standard medical team from Myanmar, United Kingdom, USA and Japan. Our clinic supports a support a multitude of languages, including French.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

International SOS strives to be the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We want to retain our position as pioneers of the international medical and travel security risk services sector.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR

Our market entry into Myanmar was over 29 years ago, so our experiences would have been unique to that era. As a resident in Yangon for over 4 years, I will say that whilst other companies have been laboring to build their foundations, we have been fortunate in being allowed to focus on our service delivery and developing new services to meet the changing needs of our clients.
With over 29 years of experience in Myanmar, and having provided an important service to the community, we have benefited from long term relationships with our many medical partners in Myanmar. Good partners in Myanmar allow you time and energy to focus on what your clients need.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

Since international sanctions were lifted in 2013, Myanmar has attracted many foreign investors and businesses wanting to establish themselves here. Greater participation in the health and medical industry has fostered competition in this market. This has ultimately led to a greater range and quality of services for the community here.   


WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR

Having had the experience in working with many clients who are setting up in challenging overseas markets, organizations will have to assess and navigate a whole host of unfamiliar operational, medical, safety and security challenges.

Organizations will need to ensure they have the necessary knowledge, a robust network or a reliable business partner to assist in navigating these complexities and to protect their employees and business continuity.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

In 1985 International SOS was founded by Dr. Pascal Rey-Herme and Arnaud Vaissié. On top of being the Chairman and CEO of International SOS, Arnaud Vaissié is also the president of CCIFI (French Chambers of Commerce Overseas)


YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

We are all in Myanmar because it is the best opportunity of our lives. A key driver of success here is being wise to health and security risks that may affect your experience in Myanmar. The three most common reasons for medical evacuation from Myanmar are dengue fever, road traffic accidents and pre-existing medical conditions. Professional and informed advice can bring down your likelihood of being affected by one or more of these.


YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

From the misty spires of Bagan to the pristine beaches of Ngapali, Myanmar has as a surplus of world class sights. For me, however, happiness to be found on a Friday afternoon at the Lake View bar, watching the sun go down over Inya Lake with a chilled glass of Myanmar’s finest.

Nicolas Corlin - Head of Product & Digital - Wave Money

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Wave Money is a joint venture between Telenor and Yoma Bank, being setup to provide convenient mobile financial services to the mass market. The service will allow people to store, transfer money and make payments through mobile technology, using an extensive network of agents as the interface between electronic money and cash.

As many emerging economies, Myanmar has a very low banking penetration and when it comes to handling money, cash is still king and it can be pretty painful to deal with payments or remittances. On the other hand, the digital revolution has happened and the country is in the top 4 fastest growing mobile markets in the world, skipping 2G and feature phones. Less than 2 years after launch, Telenor already have more than 16 million customers, with incredibly high smartphone penetration and data usage compared to other emerging markets.

Therefore, we believe that the mobile money industry and Wave Money especially have the potential to play a key role in helping the country drastically improve financial inclusion, by providing simple, convenient and reliable services.

WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Making the best of Telenor distribution network and Yoma Bank cash management capabilities, our primary goal is to be easily available for everyone: our service will be distributed through thousands of agents including various types of small businesses (phone shops, groceries, pharmacies,…) allowing us to reach people who are still underserved by traditional financial services.

We will launch with a simple offer around domestic remittances and phone top-up, and quickly build extra services to allow people to handle their money-related matters easily. Remittance services will be available to everyone, through our app for Telenor customers (try it, it’s great!) but also through over-the-counter services for people who don’t have a Telenor SIM or who might prefer to rely on our agents to conduct transactions.

Also, we are looking into B2B services and are already in discussion with a number of business/civil society partners to cater their needs by offering disbursement services or helping them collect payments.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR ?

We have built a strong team initially leveraging on experienced industry experts from international backgrounds, and now largely relying on great local talents. The team is very diverse (more than 10 nationalities -with a vast majority of Burmese people- nearly 50% of women and a broad range of experiences) and I feel very fortunate to work in this thriving environment. We have built a fully operational system and Wave Money is now ready for a commercial launch, after an initial test phase which has allowed us to optimize our products, teams and processes.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

One critical dependency for our industry has been the much-awaited regulation on Mobile Financial Services, which was released by the Central Bank of Myanmar last April and will allow telco players and joint-ventures like ours to offer services to the people. Wave Money is now awaiting the approval of the Central Bank.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR
Be humble and patient, make sure you are surrounded by the right partners or team members to navigate through the local processes and understand cultural subtleties. Invest in time and effort in HR to build a strong local team.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I first visited Myanmar back in 2009, when travelling across the region with my wife. We were amazed by the country and told ourselves that we would come back one day… So when the Wave Money opportunity came up it did not take much time to make a decision! We settled down in Yangon as a family last year and so far, it has been a great experience for everyone. Everyday life can be a bit more challenging than in the neighbouring countries but we found a great place to live in a very green area and we really enjoy exploring the country whenever we have a chance.

As for our relations with France, it is a great country to come back to for holidays, especially during the Burmese rainy season!

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

. Do your homework before coming (to avoid bad surprises re cost of life, schools, travel times, availability of goods or services…)

. Once you’re here, travel out of Yangon

. Open a Wave Money account (OK, I am not objective on this one, but you’ll soon realize it can be very handy!)

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

There are many beautiful places in Myanmar but I love spending time in Shan state, around Inle Lake, in the surrounding mountains (do the trek from Kalaw!) and in the Taunggyi area (I remember an epic balloon festival). The climate is cooler and the sights are really amazing especially at the end of the rainy season. And among other local curiosities there are some vineyards, too!

Charles Bouhelier, Country Manager - Artelia International

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Artelia's goal is to build an international multi-specialist engineering firm able to offer its clients in the public and private sectors an original approach to engineering, project management and consultancy that meets the expectations of a fast-changing world.
Our main fields of action are Building Construction, Services to Industries, Environment, Renewable Energies (Hydropower, Solar), Urban Development (Water and Waste Management, Transportation), Maritime projects.


WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S STRATEGY IN MYANMAR

Our strategy in Myanmar is to bring our expertise and to work closely with local partners, in order to deliver services adapted to the local context, with internal quality standards.


HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY GROWN SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT IN MYANMAR

We have conducted several consultancy and engineering projects, such as Environmental studies, Building designs, technical audits, in multiple sectors: Oil & Gas, industry, hospitality, etc.
We are confident that the recent political changes will bring a lot of opportunities in the near future, and the network we have built so far will help us to face these upcoming challenges.


WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY THERE LAST FEW MONTHS / YEARS

Some recent changes in the regulation, the “Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure” for example, show us that decisions are taken in order to provide a structured legislative framework, which is definitely an improvement for anyone working here.  


WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR

“When in Rome, do as Romans do”, the same applies to Myanmar. It is important to meet, discuss, spend time to truly understand your local partners and clients before trying to develop any fruitful relationship, it is true everywhere, but it is especially true in Myanmar and requires adaptability and flexibility.


YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I have been in Myanmar for more than 2 years and I am still excited about it! Concerning my relations with France, they are excellent, especially if they imply cheese and wine.


YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Be patient and flexible. Being mad at your internet/electricity/partners won’t make anything go faster.
Oh, and don’t forget your umbrella.


YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

I really enjoy untouched places far from the main cities, but I also appreciate the atmosphere of some Yangon’s crowded tea shops and bbq/beer stations.  

Yann Bary, President - Acteus

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

ACTEUS SPECIALIZES IN PROVIDING SUPPLY CHAIN SERVICES TO INDUSTRIAL COMPANIES OPERATING IN MYANMAR – MAINLY IN THE SECTORS OF O&G, F&B, MINING AND CONSTRUCTION.
ITS MAIN PURPOSE IS TO CREATE A BRIDGE BETWEEN MYANMAR COMPANIES AND OVERSEAS SUPPLIERS & MANUFACTURERS TO ENSURE THAT OPERATIONS ONGOING IN MYANMAR CAN DO SO IN A SUSTAINABLE AND COST EFFECTIVE MANNER.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

MYANMAR IS AT A KEY PHASE IN ITS OPENING TO THE WORLD AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EAGER TO LEARN INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES. IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION THAT A LONG TERM VISION WITH FOCUS ON LOCAL DEVELOPMENT IS NECESSARY TO GAIN IN CREDIBILITY AND TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL LONG LASTING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

BASED IN SINGAPORE, OUR RELATONSHIPS WITH FRANCE ARE STILL VERY STRONG BUT IN TERMS OF CULTURAL EXCHANGE AS WELL AS BUSINESS WISE SINCE A LARGE NUMBER OF OUR SUPPLIERS ARE LOCATED THERE. ACTEUS ACTS AS A BRIDGE FOR FRENCH COMPANIES TO DO BUSINESS IN MYANMAR.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

AS MOST ASIAN COUNTRIES, MYANMAR CAN AT TIMES TURN OUT TO BE SURPRISING FOR EXPATS FRESHLY ARRIVED FROM EUROPE OR THE WEST. KEEPING AN OPEN MIND AT ALL TIMES AS WELL AS POSITIVE ATTITUDE WILL WITHOUT DOUBT HEL TO MAKE SURE THAT ACCLIMATATION WILL BE A SUCCESS.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

FMCCI!

 

 

James Richmond, General Manager - Europcar Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

We are the first global car rental company to operate within the territory, offering car rental services from an hour through to 3 year leases. We offer a comprehensive range of fully insured vehicles, with professionally trained, English-speaking drivers. With the increased number of companies entering Myanmar, & an increased level of interest for the leisure sector, we are very excited about our future business plans in Myanmar.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

It’s a challenging environment, simple business practice that may be taken for granted in many regions, can become difficult & frustrating. However we believe, there is great opportunity here, & already see the signs of positive progress. Employees are dedicated, willing & eager to learn. They relish involvement & participation in the overall group objectives and plans. 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

Europcar’s global HQ is based near Versailles, just outside Paris, so we have strong connections with France, any group support required for our franchise, will be obtained from our Paris based franchise support team, I also make regular visits to the head office for conferences and business related activities, which also gives me a great excuse to sample the delights of Paris, especially the food & wine!

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Enjoy the opportunity, we are fortunate to be in a country at such an exciting phase of its development. Be Inspired by the wonderful, charming friendly people, I am truly grateful to make a difference & contribute to Myanmar albeit in such a very small way, become engrained in the local culture, explore many places, & don’t allow the traffic to stress you out too much :-).

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

I love people watching & the hustle & bustle of 19th St (Chinatown) downtown Yangon, I also love being at home in Pun Hlaing golf estate, it is my tranquil oasis & escape from the hectic, busy daily life we all face in Yangon.

 

 

Amy Nyunt, Managing Director - Netsmart

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

A revamped IT company with a long history in the country, providing services in Open Source, CRM & ERP, Cloud and Structured Networking to multinational companies and SMEs.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Myanmar is in one of its most interesting and critical years of making in the history. Being a part of this era will certainly enrich one’s experience and understanding of the country and its future. Setting the objectives right within one’s organization about International best practices, local sustainability, transparency, gender equality, racial harmony, anti-corruption, social responsibility and human dignity can contribute to a massive positive impact on the development of the company from which businesses can benefit from. 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I’m a local and have been residing in Myanmar since 2007. I love France, have learned the language and visited France on a regular basis. Even when the International community was very limited, several of Netsmart’s clients have been French companies or/and members of FMCCI, where I’ve been a member myself and witnessed the growth of the FMCCI community.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

International community is still relatively small and one gets to know each other in a relatively easy way. Consequently, maintain a good self-reputation, make local friends and learn the local customs, geography, culture, history and the mentality of the people. You will learn the hard way that it is very difficult to know what local people actually think especially in a work environment. Avoid confrontation and communicate indirectly though their closest associates.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Hard to pick one as Myanmar has very diversified geography – from long coasts and archipelagos to big rivers, dry zones, forests and snow mountains – and ethnic people and their culture. If I must, Ngwe Saung beach!

 

 

Alexandre Besson, Operations Manager - Poe-Ma Assurances

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Poe-ma insurances is a French insurance broker. We have always been grounded in Asia-Pacific: we started in Tahiti with black pearl farms, a high risk business that no one previously wanted to insure as the pearl is fragile during its 7 years of growth. We then opened offices in several other Pacific islands and expanded in Thailand and Cambodia. We are now in Yangon since November 2012. Poe-ma insurances Myanmar can help both local and international clients to find insurance solutions on the global market with Myanma Insurance fronting. Here we mainly focus on health, property and liability, and as we're a global SME, our advantage is that we are highly flexible and can offer tailor-made solutions. 

Our sister company Poe-ma assistance & services provides 24/7 emergency medical and non-medical assistance to expats and travelers throughout the country. I have travelled with my team throughout the country during 6 months to create and reinforce our network in all of Myanmar. Our bilingual Myanmar and English speaking correspondents work with us, including from remote areas, to evacuate patients wherever they are with a fast response.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Make sure your employer provides a personal health insurance or get a travel insurance. I’ve now been dealing with enough medical assistance cases to say you don’t want to rely on luck while dealing with your health, especially in Myanmar.

If your company already made the decision of sending you here, you have to convince them that it's now the time to explore and engage with partners. It doesn't matter if it fails at first, local companies will start listening and respecting you when they see you are here to stay and to take serious steps in business. So many come and go… 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND WHY MYANMAR?

Myanmar was a guarantee of excitement and challenges! Everything being yet to be done, my wife and I were sure we would not get bored coming here. We have not been disappointed.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Professionally wise: keep it clear and simple when you communicate with your colleagues or potential clients. Most of difficulties you will face in your daily life can actually be prevented, but it will require huge personal efforts. Personally wise: be curious and engage with people.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Difficult to choose one! I would happily go live in Mandalay, where you get a feeling of freedom you can’t find here in Yangon. For a more historical point of view, Mrauk U was an incredible experience.

 

 

Julien Loiret, General Manager - SDV Logistics Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

SDV MYANMAR has been officially open since May 2014, nevertheless we have been active in the country since the 90’s via our dedicated partner KG Polestar.

  • Our core activities in the country are:
  • International freight forwarding (with the support of our network of 600 offices over 100 countries)
  • Customs clearance / Import license application
  • Countrywide delivery
  • Warehousing

We are mainly serving companies working in the Telecom, Oil&Gas, Energy/Power, Aerospace and Garment.

To know more about us please do not hesitate to visit our website: www.sdv.com

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Myanmar is perpetually evolving, what was right yesterday, could be wrong today and vice versa.

In a country where the information is not always gazetted and hard to get it is crucial to involve your freight forwarder from the beginning of your project. 

The golden rule: do not ship anything without the greenlight of your logistic partner; otherwise you could face major difficulties.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

I have been living out of France for more than half of my life. It allows me to better appreciate my country and to realize how grateful we should be to be a part of it. Wherever I go and no matter how far I am from our motherland, I am always proud to be French!

I have been living in the Golden Land for nearly 2 years, what a ride! If people are looking for challenges and adventure, this is the place to be. Life here is like a roller coaster, so many things are coming your way and you will have your ups and downs.

To be here and set up/ develop an activity while the country is opening up is a unique experience and unfortunately there are not many opportunities left.

Indeed there is electricity shortage, water supply is not that stable and internet/mobile phone network is not that good but it’s getting better. Beside if everything was great where will be the excitement it’s a part of the charms of this adventure that we are all in.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Myanmar is a country that will teach the full meaning of patience. In any situation it is important to keep your cool whatever how hard it is. 

Another key element, we are all guests here, it is crucial to keep it in mind and to do not be too judgmental.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Unfortunately I did not have much time to visit many places in Myanmar but I really did enjoy the Inle Lake. Beautiful sceneries, cool weather perfect to escape the heat of Yangon!

I would recommend there 2 places, the Novotel (great service & really nice room with amazing view) and the Thanakha Inle Hotel, really charming and cozy hotel.

 

 

Marita Schimpl, Business Development Manager - Myanmar Survey Research (MSR)

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

MSR is one of the first market & social research agency in Myanmar already doing business since 20 years. I am heading the marketing research department. We consult primarily international clients on strategic topics like market entry, product portfolio planning, brand positioning, product testing or communication strategy. We derive our strategies from data we either collect in large quantitative surveys. Or we conduct in-depth interviews, discussion groups or ethnographic home visits with consumers to understand their living context, their attitudes, needs, desires and hopes. I can’t remember how many homes I have visited across Myanmar in the past 3 years. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Yangon is not Myanmar. Once you leave Yangon the realities of most people is quite different. Especially in remote areas people have only 1-2 TV channels – if they have electricity, hardly any internet access and the selection of goods is rather limited.  Infrastructure development is key to increase their living standards. We have seen the huge impact of telecoms notably in rural areas where young adults embrace the versatile opportunities of smartphones to read news, connect with others and find out about brands never seen before.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

My life in Myanmar is really, really interesting and I still feel the enthusiasm with which I started 3 years ago. I experience different parts of the country, speak to many different people and see the world through their eyes. Then I get the many clients’ perspective as well. We work for French clients and are a proud member of the FMCCI  (formerly AFMA) since 2013. 

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Come with an optimistic and enthusiastic mindset. Challenges will appear soon enough that make you doubt why you are in Myanmar (e.g. when facing many power outages during the hot season). Remember the many rewarding moments you experienced in Myanmar and you know why you came here in the first place. 

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

In a hammock overlooking the beautiful beach of Ngwe Saung whilst drinking a fresh coconut. Best thing to de-stress.

 

 

Swe Swe Myint & Claude Goalec - Legendary Myanmar Intl' Shipping & Logistics/ Clasquin Overseas Forwarding

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

LEGENDARY MYANMAR INT’L SHIPPING & LOGISTICS CO., LTD LMSL and CLASQUIN are professional shipping and forwarding service companies in Myanmar and in 160 countries. We are ready to assist you and provide total logistics solutions for ALL cargo flows. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO PUT ACROSS TO OUR MEMBERS?

A new regulation has reinforced & effected from 1st March 2013 that   158 commodities can be exported   by Automatic Licensing system   without EXPORT LICENCE and Importers can import 165 commodities without applying IMPORT LICENCE.    Once this new regulation works out properly, it will allow dynamic Int’l trading. Welcome to those foreign companies who are helping hands to local people, least impact of nature, culture, and environment friendly technology used. 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND WHY MYANMAR?

Very Exciting to be present & be witness of our country positive changes and development. Happy to see our country is marching towards dynamic.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

You will find it interesting to learn Myanmar Culture, tradition and a lot of beautiful places, and regulation. People are friendly, enjoy working in Myanmar.

First, orientate yourself in Yangon before your working day. 

Prepare yourself not to expect much  for transport, communication, accommodation in Myanmar.   Don’t get surprised about property prices to lease, which are at high market demand. 

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

I love Bagan, Lake Inle and Ngapali Beach. For me, there are still a lot of untouched  places in Myanmar to explore.

 

 

Philippe Battlé, Country Manager Myanmar - AccorHotels

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Accor, the world's leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 92 countries with more than 3,600 hotels and 470,000 rooms. 

With more than 170,000 employees in Accor brand hotels worldwide, the Group offers to its clients and partners nearly 45 years of know-how and expertise.

Hotel industry. Accor manages hotels owned by independent owners. The purpose is to bring soft skills (how to run a hotel) and the worldwide sales network (direct to hotel, travel agents, and internet).

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

I am amazed by the pace of the transformation, the eager to catch up. 

While respecting the specificities of the Culture, with an approach based on mutual respect and recognizing the importance of the Relation, leaving the time to the time  we can be very successful.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

After 12 years in Bali, it was on my request I moved to Myanmar mid 2013 .the culture shock  phase passed (especially related to infrastructure, lodging, telephone, internet) I confirm I am very happy with my decision : all is about progress, future, better life. Not too many countries are bringing so much energy and hope today. 

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Observe, blend and act as coach. Do not  judge from a foreign perspective. 

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

In Yangon : as French I have to choose a restaurant :  my first choice would Shwe Sa Bwe. Beside the quality of food ,the warmth of the restaurant :   it is place where under privileged kids are prepared to be part of the country growth.

 

 

Julien Garraud, Country Manager - Legrand Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Legrand in Myanmar has been present since the 90’ . In 2003, Khin Maung Nyunt Trading, Legrand historic partner started importing and marketing Legrand products. In 2015 we have around 10 distributors in Myanmar.

“Legrand Myanmar Branch”opened on 1st of may 2014 with the mission of support to our local customers as well as support to investors on the  projects, especially on residential, commercial and hospitality sector. 

Our team is composed by electronic  and electrical engineers specialised by product lines and working in business development field as well as technical support.

Legrand is leader for switch and sockets outlets and residential electrical protection market but in the past 15 years, Legrand’s acquisitions in different market segments changed the Group in a global specialist for the electrical and digital building infrastructure.

Products such as UPS, busbar trunking, cast resine transformers as well as cable management and data enclosures and racks  are now part of Legrand full solution for the buildings. Most of those products are available with our distributors in Myanmar, feel free to come to contact us for more information and come to our new showroom at MICT Park.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Make sure, your contractors use quality electrical and telecom products in your installation. It is a guarantee of safety but also good business operation. After sales issues can be a nightmare and lead to significant increase of the bill, not to mention worst consequences for your building.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND YOUR RELATIONS WITH FRANCE

Very busy  since our business is directly linked to the construction. With the opening of the country, there  is obviously some expected growth.  Myanmar means great opportunity to have an experience in opening a branch and put the company on the right track for the future, As for the destination, it was not really to be honest but my wife and I thought a first experience in Asia would be exciting. 

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Communication is sometime frustrating for managers here, so come with good load of patience. 

Myanmar is changing quite fast and every week living and working conditions get better, so the best is yet to come…

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Recently arrived with a young baby, we have not discovered Myanmar yet. Nevertheless, I would love to go back to Inle that is really relaxing  and peacefull environment. In the meantime, we enjoy Yangon restaurants and i would mention “Le Bistro” at Savoy that is my favorite place to meet with friends and enjoy great traditional French food and wine.

 

 

Yasemin Derviscemallioglu, Foreign Legal Advisor - Luther Lawfirm Myanmar

A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN MYANMAR AND THE SECTOR YOU ARE WORKING IN

Luther is one of the leading European law firms and member of Taxand, with 14 European offices and 5 offices in Asia located in Yangon, Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Delhi, providing legal and tax advice in all areas relevant to companies, investors and the public sector. With worldwidestaff strength of more than 350 lawyers and tax advisors, weprovide a complete range of legal advice and tax services complemented by corporate services for clients doing business in and from Asia. Our lawyersunite substantial practical knowledge in important legal areas and cover the entire spectrum of law in ASEAN and beyond. We support foreign investors in the assessment of location and investment criteria, the structuring of investment projects, acquisitions and joint ventures. Finding and implementing solutions for sensitive areas like technology transfer and know-how protection also form part of our work. Alongside our clients we negotiate with future partners and local authorities and ensure the enforcement of their rights, in and out of court as well as in arbitration proceedings.

With staff strength of 25 in our office in Yangon, comprising of Myanmar and European lawyers complemented by internationally trained accountants and other support staff, Luther Law Firm Ltd. and Luther Corporate Services Ltd. have the competence and expertise necessary to comprehensively assist and advise our clients in all stages of the business lifecycle, namely, from the incorporation of a Myanmar entity, through on-going legal advice, support services such as bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and cash, fund & payment administration, and up to the dissolution of an entity.

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

The key factor for success in Myanmar is awareness of your SWOT analysis regarding your specific business sector and creating your investment alongside such analysis after a thorough risk analysis.

Myanmar is a challenge that is very worthwhile to be taken. One is faced with a largely untouched market in most sectors, a very eager and willing to learn work force and natural resources. On the other side we have an outdated legal framework, lack of Corporate Governance, insufficient Infrastructure, unreliable supply of energy, lack of qualified staff. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the country with its challenges and opportunities is very important. For sustainable success an investor firstly needs to understand the culture and the country, secondly put in emphasis on training and last but not least be patient. 

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND WHY MYANMAR?

After having worked in South Africa, I had in 2012 the option to return to Europe or move to Asia. Seeing the once-in-a- life-time possibility,witnessing closely the development of one of the last frontier markets, my decision was made to move to Myanmar. In the past two years I could closely follow the legal, political and economic development of the country, which was so far very interesting and proving to have taken the right decision in 2012.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Be aware of the customs and culture of the country and that your action might be understood differently than in your home country. Try to adapt your communication skills to the local customs and be patient.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Ngapali Beach is so far my favorite place in Myanmar. A quick 1 hour flight takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Yangon to Thandwe Airport and another 15 minutes later to you arrive at your hotel right at the beach. A beautiful long sand beach invites you for runs and walks, a calm sea invites you for a swim and lazy floating. A beautiful sunset, the possibility for a nice bike ride and a relatively untouched fisher village complete the reasons for Ngapali being my favorite place in Myanmar.

 

 

Mark A. Tippetts, Group Ambassador - Serge Pun & Associates (Myanmar) Ltd., Yoma Strategic Holdings

WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR MEMBERS REGARDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MYANMAR?

Choose the right local partner to work with – This is THE key factor for professional success in Myanmar – It is tough to “paddle your own canoe” in Burmese waters.

Discipline yourself to be doggedly patient – Myanmar has isolated its people for the better part of 50 years. Due consideration for patience and determination are integral factors in any successful business venture here. In many ways, the fundamentally   conservative   Myanmars   have   not   changed   radically   their traditional “top-down” culture since this Government was elected four years ago.

Operate with professional transparency and integrity at all times.

Respect local traditions – Take the trouble to learn about Burmese culture and show an appreciation for it whenever appropriate.  Avoid expat arrogance and intolerance – Business “progresses” differently here – Myanmars are inherently conservative, and an understanding and sensitivity to Myanmar local culture truly matters . . .

Myanmar’s day has finally come. 2015 will be a seminal year, a year of no return.

Unlike Myanmar’s earlier “false start” in the mid-1990’s, there is no “turning back”! The will of the Government, of the opposition, and of the people is overwhelmingly for a gradual opening up of the country and of its economy. The majority aspires to raise both their standards of education, and their living standards, and to become once again true players in South East Asia.

YOUR LIFE IN MYANMAR AND WHY MYANMAR?

I met Serge Pun in August 1984 in through the introduction of CC Kwong, another Chinese Burmese, who had known Serge when they were at St. Paul’s together, and who became the original partner in Serge Pun & Associates in 1983.   That same month in 1984, I also met my wife, Yeon, on a blind date, introduced by CC Kwong.

YH Kwong always said that day would come when Burma would open again, and when it did, he would return. In 1990 he was invited back, as was Serge Pun, and I began to fly into Yangon on exploratory business trips from Hong Kong starting in early 1994. By late 1995, Serge Pun said that if I did not move to Yangon soon, we would not even be able to find a house to rent – Myanmar was in a “boom” mode, which lasted until the “IMF crisis” of 1997, and the US and EU sanctions of 1998. So, I joined SPA Myanmar to run New Business Development, rented an old school in Malikha Road, which we transformed into a home, and where we lived for the next eight years, a house which is now the “Shwe Sa Bwe” restaurant.

In 2000 I took over marketing at Pun Hlaing Golf Estate, and in 2001 acquired a plot of land on which we built a Burmese-style lakeside home, overlooking Hole No. 6 on the estate’s golf course. Called “Mayon”, we moved into the house in early 2004, completing parts of the house while we lived in the guest wing.

It has now been 19 years that we have been living in Myanmar, and we have enjoyed every twist and turn, including the highs and the lows, of these incredible

years of this emerging country, which we have long called home.

YOUR ADVICE FOR A NEWLY ARRIVED EXPAT IN MYANMAR

Get to know something of local Myanmar culture, the traditional society here, Myanmars’ conservatism, and their strong family unity.

Respect where they have come from: Burma was by far the wealthiest and most advanced country in South East Asia, having been “the jewel in the crown of the British Empire”, and remember the Burmese ruled Siam for two hundred, the only nation to conquer the Siamese until WWII and the Japanese invasion.

Myanmars know where they came from, they know their rich history, they are proud of it, and now have the opportunity to regain their lost glory, and they have every intention of so doing . . .

Contribute where you can to this re-emerging society. Make an extra effort to help the people of this nation improve themselves, be it through your patience in helping their education, or in some form of CSR. Whatever efforts you may make during your time in Myanmar will be rewarded tenfold; you can really make an impact with modest efforts, which are always so gratefully received.

Myanmars are the happiest people, always with a smile on their faces – They can make you stay in Myanmar such a pleasure, so embrace their culture, embrace the people, and you will certainly enjoy your time in the Golden Land.

YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN MYANMAR

Lake Inle has been my favourite place in Myanmar since my first experience eighteen years ago. Traveling in October with a small group of friends in the travel business, each top local tour-operators or Yangon hoteliers, this was the perfect introduction for me to Inle.

Since then, Inle has become a treasured destination for me. I have traveled there multiple times every year since 1996, each time spending three or four days, and always staying at the Inle Princess.

 

 

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  • ACCOR Novotel
  • ADEN
  • AGS Four Winds
  • Atelian
  • BRED
  • BYMA
  • CGG
  • Jardine
  • LEGENDARY MYANMAR INT'L SHIPPING & LOGISTICS
  • LUTHER
  • Legrand
  • MAC
  • SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
  • SDV/BOLLORE LOGISTICS
  • Sanofi
  • Schindler
  • TOTAL E&P MYANMAR

Contact

Parkside One, 271/273 Bagayar Street,

Sanchaung Township, Yangon, Myanmar.

Tel : +95-(0) 1 523 700

Email : director (at) ccifrance-myanmar.org

© 2017 CCI FRANCE MYANMAR