Many people are only just getting used to the idea that Burma is now called Myanmar, that after almost 50 years of military rule it is moving quickly toward full democracy and that, following the easing of US and EU sanctions, it is open for business.
But in Asia, the rich business opportunities in Myanmar are well understood. The former capital Yangon is a construction site as, and to the dismay of some, colonial-era buildings are torn down to be replaced by new malls, hotels and office blocks. New cars, a rarity a few years ago, cruise the streets. A rising number of businesses accept credit cards.
Part of the boom is likely to be in hydrocarbons, most probably natural gas. During western sanctions China was Burma’s biggest business partner and as a result got first mover advantage. The deepwater Shwe gas field (operated by South Korea’s Daewoo) started producing in July and first exports reached China, via a newly built pipeline, in September.
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