Are you considering to launch your business in Myanmar? Vietnamese conglomerates and companies are expending their business in this newly emerged market in ASEAN region and many other Vietnamese businesses will follow these footsteps entering Myanmar, competing with many other foreign investments. As Vero is present in both nations we have developed these tips which will help you to start your business right in this new exciting market.
1. LEARN PR CONTEXT DOS AND DON’TS
As an Asian nation located between China and India, Myanmar has its own different Eastern culture, beliefs and value systems. Not only to the outer world but, because of the religion, it may even seem different to some ASEAN nations such as Vietnam or Philippines. As a Buddhist dominated nation, the statues of Buddha are sacred to the people and no matter big or small, the statues and the symbols of Buddhism are in no way to use as a decoration, fashion or displaying as accessories sort of purposes.
Just recently, the inflight magazine of Vietnam Airlines, on its November 2015 issue cover, portrayed the traditional “ao dai” dress worn by a lady with images of the most famous Pagoda in Myanmar printed on the lower parts of its dress. A lot of Myanmar citizens were very upset with this image then posted and shared about it on their Facebook timelines. The foreign business organizations should learn about the culture, its beliefs and values so that they do not commit a big mistake by offending the locals concerning their cultural values.
2. KNOW THE CONTEXT AND CHOOSE YOUR TIMING WELL
Myanmar is a Buddhist nation and religiously, full-moon festivals are run every month while most of them are celebrated public holidays nationwide. On top of that, April is not good to launch a business because there is a long holiday (about 10 days) celebrating Myanmar’s calendar New Year. Also February and March, are the months when the new parliament is called forming the new government, thus all the attention will spot on this important activity of the country.
3. CONNECT WITH COMMUNITIES
Myanmar people as well as the new government are interested in how foreign investments and business organizations can contribute to the nation and its people’s wealth.
At the very first EU-Myanmar Task Force held in Yangon last November, the Chair of National League for Democracy Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said: “I want good, hard-headed businessmen who intent on making a good profit for themselves, but in a responsible way so that we also may benefit from your presence. That means that when you talk about responsibility, it’s not just about CSR, it’s not just about social responsibility. It is about political responsibility and legal responsibility, in a very broad sense of the word.” Her party has received the power to form the next government after winning the 2015 Myanmar general election.
What people want to know is what you are bringing for the country and thus you should use this PR ground to easily access and connect your consumers and stakeholders communicating through creative and practical CSR projects and responsible business practices and conducts.
4. KEEP TRACK OF THE TRANSITION EFFECTS
A lot of foreign business giants were monitoring and waiting for the political transition of Myanmar with the new government to take place within the first quarter of 2016. Meanwhile they are preparing themselves to get ready to pounce into the market once the new government will start its term on 1st April. It was true that the door to Myanmar market has opened wider after 2010 and in the last 5 years’ government years but it was anticipated that the new government will reinforce the laws to welcome foreign investments. It is important to have thorough insights on the newly amended laws for the businesses if they want to maximize their opportunities.
5. SURF ON THE DIGITAL WAVE
In June last year, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology announced mobile penetrating rates have increased to over 50 percent of the population. Whereas Myanmar has a total population of 53 million, the country has 29 million active mobile subscriptions. That’s almost 300% subscribers’ growth only within one year, and mobile phone users approaching 50% of the population.
Digital social media, websites and blogs are used as platforms for effective and fast communications and have a broad impact creating opportunities both to individuals and organizations to have a voice and deliver their messages according to their preferences and interests. Facebook is the most favorite social media in Myanmar and people start to read more news on digital platforms, while the news agencies try to keep their activity up by being active on their social media channels. With mobile and internet services quality and quantities expected to grow more, the businesses need to keep up operate using by proper communication and PR management on digital platforms to maximize results.
6. USE THE NEIGHBORING EDGE
Myanmar sees Vietnam as one of its neighboring countries and have some knowledge and insights about the country and its people. According to Myanmar, Vietnam is a fellow nation in the region but has different aspects comparing to the five other bordering nations including China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos. Not being a bordering nation has lessened the immediate clashes or disputes between the governments and the people living near the border lines, whereas being a fellow member of ASEAN creates some affection towards Vietnam.
Myanmar students studied about Vietnam and its leaders such as Ho Chi Minh in history classes and most Myanmar people instantly sees nón lá (Vietnamese traditional hats) and leg powered row boats when they hear the name “Vietnam”, as it’s a common tradition to Myanmar where the similar hat “Kha Mauk” is used while leg powered row boats as a tradition in Inn Lay, a famous tourist destination of Myanmar.
In Shan State, a lot of similarities with Vietnamese in traditional attires, food such as noodles and Vietnamese dishes, are also loved by most of Myanmar people. Then the goal for Vietnamese businesses entering to Myanmar is to base on and increase the love that has been already existing exclusively for being a neighboring unique nation, for your brand.
Photo Credits: blog.activetravelmyanmar.com