Tractus in Myanmar

Crossroads of Asia meet in the Last Frontier Economy

Myanmar, often called, “Asia’s Last Frontier,” presents unique opportunities for trade and investment in a growing economy, but is often mischaracterized and misunderstood by companies assessing the wider ASEAN and APAC region.

Companies successful in the market have taken a long-term view identifying the opportunities that come with a population of 54 million that includes a growing, younger and increasingly global middle class in a country where product saturation for goods and services are limited across consumer categories that have boomed throughout the surrounding region. These companies have also seen the strategic hub that the country presents for labor intensive manufacturing, providing competitive wages and investment incentives in an increasingly globally connected country with advantageous free trade agreements across Asian, European and North American export markets.

Myanmar’s democratically elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), secured a new five-year mandate (2020- 2025) in November 2020 and are aiming to leverage these unique opportunities through further reforms that will enhance trade and investment opportunities for foreign investors. During the NLD’s first term (2015- 2020), Myanmar revised laws and regulations that liberalized and updated the trade and investment framework. As a result, Myanmar’s standing in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business improved under the NLDs’ stewardship, even as GDP declined. The new reforms provide a modernized framework for investment but the still presents challenges when assessing opportunities, developing the optimal market entry and business strategy, and applying for regulatory approvals in new industries and business activities that have been recently liberalized.

Tractus has been advising our clients on the opportunities Myanmar presents, strategizing the optimal market entry mechanism, and navigating new regulatory regimes since opening our Myanmar office in 2013. Our Myanmar team of professionals, support our consulting, economic development and Business Inc.ubator® clients and have vast experience in sectors that include automotive, agriculture, FMCG, mining, and manufacturing, among others.

Strategy & Execution

Tractus’ broad experience advising our clients across sectors on detailed Myanmar focused strategy has allowed our clients to identify opportunities, assess the risks and challenges, and optimize their business strategy in the Golden Land through service lines under our Strategy and Execution practice.

The start of the process often begins with understanding market dynamics. Acquiring reliable, current, and disaggregated product specific data on market dynamics in Myanmar can be a challenge. Information that is publicly available is limited, and often out of date. Our team in Yangon has extensive experience peeling behind the macro data to develop bespoke market opportunity assessments that identify trends, competitors, and evaluate regulations that apply to specific products leveraging our deep and connected network throughout Myanmar to capture market information for sectors including animal and aqua feed, construction materials, garment and textiles, pharmaceuticals, FMCG among others. These assessments provide our clients with a clear understanding of the opportunities and the best strategy for implementation.

Throughout the seven years since opening the Tractus Myanmar Office our team has worked with our clients to execute market entry with long-term business objectives in mind. This has included advising on the best method to bring products to the market, identifying the optimal site for a manufacturing facility, assessing joint-venture opportunities, and identifying the best partner to distribute goods to consumers across the Golden Land.

A common feature that runs throughout our approach is conducting detailed due diligence on sites, individuals, and business activities to ensure our client has full transparency about the land they may be acquiring, or the individual they may be entering into a business agreement with. While sanctions have been removed against most individuals in Myanmar, they are still applied to key individuals, and watchdogs have focused on identifying the nebulous links foreign companies may have to individuals currently under sanctions, or with ties to the military. Tractus’ Myanmar team has undertaken highly complex reference checking and business due diligence research in support of our client’s business strategy.

Tractus’ Business Inc.ubator® has often been the initial landing for our clients as they enter Myanmar leveraging our hard and soft office infrastructure to provide a low cost and low risk market entry solution to evaluate the Myanmar market without the expense of formally establishing a subsidiary or business entity. Our business

Inc.ubator clients, ranging from Fortune 500 to SMEs, have utilized the umbrella of services under the Inc.ubator® to

  • Establishing a legal entity for Myanmar employed Staff
  • Provide office space for Myanmar employed Staff
  • HR, administration and accounting shared services team for back-office support, and
  • Sales outsourcing
  • Government Liaison
  • Management support

Regardless of the investment strategy chosen, the Tractus Myanmar team has the expertise and experience to support our clients with their investment strategy execution from registration of the legal entity, recruiting key management personnel, government land lease conversion for foreign company use, selection of professional service vendors to managing the design, engineering and construction project management of a new or existing facility.

Economic Development

Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) are taking a longer look at Myanmar, attracted to its agricultural sector and the continued demand of agricultural commodities, as well as the growing middle-class consumer base in a market with low product saturation. The Tractus Myanmar team has utilized its private sector knowledge to work with US, Canada, and EU led EDOs to identify partners in the market and provide visibility on market dynamics that often go unseen from afar.

The Tractus economic development team has also leveraged its private sector knowledge to work with multi-lateral funded institutions in Myanmar, including DFID and USAID on technical assistance projects. Past project work in Myanmar has seen Tractus provide detailed recommendation to inform an industrial policy that would improve industrial zone management in the Yangon Region. Tractus also worked with officials in regional offices of the Myanmar Investment Commission to develop promotion strategies that would attract investors to their regions.