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As Myanmar opens up, the businessmen rush in

The astonishing political changes in Myanmar have sparked an eruption of business interest in this resource-rich country.

  • Nirmal Ghosh
  • Myanmar
  • February 1, 2012
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The region's latest gold rush is on, and all the roads, it appears, are leading to Burma.

As the government opens up the previously tightly-controlled economy and accelerates reforms, and as some Western-imposed sanctions get lifted, businessmen from the United States, Germany and Japan, among others, have been flocking to the country in search of the next big thing.

For weeks now, business hotels in Rangoon have been running at full occupancy, while real estate prices have shot up and so have rentals, the result of the influx of foreigners. Investors are scouting for opportunities in a country with much untapped potential across the board, from mining and energy to tourism and telecommunications.

"Things are beginning to fall into place in Myanmar (Burma)," observed Singapore-based Manu Bhaskaran, chief executive of Centennial Asia Advisors. "Obviously there is risk, but clearly there is momentum."

That momentum is evident in the growing number of visits by businessmen from around the world.

This month, an American delegation is due to visit. Last month, billionaire George Soros went, and said he would set up an office to facilitate philanthropic work. In December last year, a group of executives from Germany's biggest bank and its government investment arm visited, as did a Japanese team of corporates from Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsui, Itochu, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, and Marubeni.

Full Story: Gold rush to Myanmar as country opens up

Source: Straits Times
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