Many Taiwanese businesses are eager to gain a presence in Myanmar amid the rapid growth in trade between it and other Southeast Asian countries, but investment analysts in Vietnam warn that any company planning to invest there needs to do so with caution. Lu Chih-sheng, a Vietnam-based investment consultant from Taiwan, told CNA recently that Vietnamese enterprises have faced stiff competition from Chinese and Thai rivals in the Myanmar market.
Like the Vietnamese companies, Taiwanese businesses should thoroughly study the market before deciding whether or not to take their first steps into Myanmar, one of the world’s least developed countries, Lu said.
Lu’s views were in line with those of several Taiwanese businesspeople who have toured Myanmar to study the investment climate there and found incomplete regulations on financial issues and investment projects proposed by foreign enterprises and fast-growing land prices.
Although workers in Myanmar are of a good caliber and the costs are low, work efficiency is generally poor, the businesspeople said.
Investors should not be too optimistic despite recent political reforms and the economic opening launched by the country’s military government, warned an executive from a Taiwanese bank in Vietnam who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment publicly on the emerging market.
Noting that most Taiwanese investors are small businesses in the manufacturing sector, the executive suggested that they hold back on their march into Myanmar until big enterprises from Japan, South Korea and Europe move in.
Myanmar is currently soliciting foreign investment, encouraging businesses from Vietnam and other countries to invest in manufacturing, automobile assembly, telecommunication services, and infrastructure, according to Vietnamese business sources.