Myanmar Investment Commission confirm priority areas to benefit foreign & local investors
10 Jul

Myanmar Investment Commission confirm priority areas to benefit foreign & local investors

New priority areas have been confirmed by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to encourage investors. There is a new priority list stipulating ten areas. Investors targeting these areas will receive a warm welcome and this applies to both Myanmar citizens and foreign nationals.

The recent MIC statement confirms that “both foreign investors and Myanmar citizen investors are welcome to invest in [the Priority] investment areas. The Myanmar Investment Commission and the Government of respective States and Regions will provide necessary assistance to investors”.

The Priority Areas are:-

Agriculture and its related services, value-added production of agricultural products
Livestock production, breeding and production of fishery products
Export promotion industries
Import substitution industries
Power sector
Logistic industries
Education services
Health care industry
Construction of affordable housing
Establishment of industrial estate (Industrial zone development)

This follows the new Myanmar Investment Law of October 2016, which received a seal of approval by the Cabinet in March of this year. This is a further significant and beneficial change for investors attracted by the growth in Myanmar. Furthermore, now that the new Investment Law is in place, new tax benefits are available for investors.

FocusCore opened in Myanmar to help companies join this expanding prosperous economy. Now, there are even more reasons for you to consider opening your company in Myanmar. We can assist with Company Incorporation, visas, staff provision, and a full range of corporate support services.

This is an ideal time to review your plans for Myanmar. Contact us now for a confidential discussion to learn how FocusCore can help you trade in Myanmar.

Unison Collaborative choose FocusCore to help set up a joint venture in Myanmar.
28 Jun

Unison Collaborative choose FocusCore to help set up a joint venture in Myanmar.

Products from Unison Collaborative are now available via a local source in Myanmar. FocusCore was chosen to help Unison Collaborative setup a joint venture in Myanmar for the import and distribution of their products across Myanmar.

These are pharmaceutical goods and related products. The trading name is UCM Biosciences Co., Ltd. Their address is Yaw Min Gyi Rd, Yangon. Unison Collaborative has its headquarter office in Singapore and branch offices in Malaysia and The Philippines. Unison Collaborative was established in 1977 with the aim of sourcing reliable, quality in-vitro diagnostic products and research tools for the clinical, industrial and research laboratories. Their mission is “To become the preferred provider of superior products and excellent service for the Life Science and Diagnostic industry”.

FocusCore has in the past written to private medical practitioners in Myanmar, addressing just part of the medical sector. We highlighted the huge foreign investment arriving in Myanmar, plus the increasing number of luxury condominiums and prestigious office towers being built and 5 star hotels and shopping malls – but recognising there are very few clinics in Myanmar – and an increasing number of foreign national and senior business staff.

If your company operates in the medical sector do contact us now to learn about the commercial opportunities in Myanmar. As you can see from the range of products from Unison Collaborative (listed below) this joint venture is going to provide a very wide range of leading solutions.

Myanmar continues to see growth with a wide series of large investment programmes across many sectors. FocusCore is active in accelerating this growth.

FocusCore opened its offices in Myanmar in 2014 and has witnessed, and continues to be closely involved with, many leading programmes of expansion following changes in national laws and policies.

Medical: Microbiology, Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics, Immunohistochemistry, Surgical Products, Allergy) Life Sciences Products: Cell culture, Next generation sequencing, Immunoassay, Substances, Tissue engineering, Protein engineering, Water microbiology, In-Vitro & In-Vivo delivery, Electrophoresis, Molecular Biology. Industrial and Veterinary: Immunoassay, Antibodies and antigens, Fluorescence antibodies, Control serum, Molecular Assays, Complement Fixation, Tube Agglutination, AGID, Reference Cultures, Sample collection. Food and Feed Safety: Dairy testing, Industrial contaminants, Microbiology, Toxins, Veterinary drugs. Forensic: Drug detection kit, Sample Collection Swabs & Applicators, DNA Collection Kit, Evidence Collection Kit. Custom Service: Bacteria serotyping, Bacteria serotyping training course, Primers, Peptides, Immunoassays, Next-Generation Sequencing Services.

First foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status. FocusCore chosen to obtain licences and Government approvals.
27 Jun

First foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status. FocusCore chosen to obtain licences and Government approvals.

WE DIT IT! Some time ago FocusCore received a call asking for help to obtain administrative licences and Government Approvals, to allow a new school to open in Mandalay. The Founder of this initiative is Nigel Martin, President, Road To Mandalay Education Foundation.

Nigel Martin – “I employed FocusCore, a private company that gets approvals for foreign companies to set up in Myanmar, a process of overwhelming complexity. (Myanmar is rated 170th most difficult countries to set up a business or charity). Eddy, an Englishman took on my quest and has provided the finest support through a wonderful and very competent lady called Nang Su, who has battled, researched and achieved a final successful outcome. Nang Su and I have worked for 6 months to gain NGO status and negotiate the signing of a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between our charity RTMEF and the Federal Government of Myanmar. This MOU basically provides the acceptance of our school and its goals and in return they own and administer the Education policy, which we must adhere to. This process has taken 12 months. There have been many emails from Nang Su outlining the complex process and our progress and now a final outcome….. our foundation is the first foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status…..although the final signage of the agreement is not completed at all levels of Government, we can proceed in opening the school. Furthermore I have also received this note,”The  DG (Director General of Myanmar is) is happy to support you with everything you need and he welcomes your eagerness with this charity as he is also from Mandalay”.

All of us in FocusCore are delighted. This is an incredible initiative. The school for the poorest families is in a picturesque region of Mandalay called Amurupura. The location of the school was chosen as it is in one of the main concentrations of poor families.

Most live near the many lakes of this region that flood every monsoon and force the families to abandon their homes and live on the higher ground, which are the on the sides of roads. Living in make shift tents for months until the waters subside and then they can return to their ‘homes’.  

The school is now completed, phase one, a kindergarten furnished with carpets and facilities that the children and their parents could only have dreamed of before Nigel started his work. Nigel has spent $80,000 to provide the finest school and environment that only well funded private schools in Mandalay could match.

Nigel adds, “What can we do but bring these children to school and do all we can to teach them, provide a safe learning caring environment and hope they can stay with us. The excitement on their faces as they see the ‘bus’ arrive every morning are memories I will always cherish and makes it all worthwhile. So I have graduated from teacher to bus driver.

Nang Su, the school Head Master and Nigel have completed many meetings with local officials. The school is called the ‘Light of Education Primary School’ and the authorities are grateful for all the efforts and will support Nigel “for a long into the future”. 

Now the most important news, the web site ‘roadtomandalay.org’ will be launched on June 10

Myanmar trading volumes reaches new records with the European Union.
26 May

Myanmar trading volumes reaches new records with the European Union.

The European Union operates a Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility. This is granted unilaterally to developing countries. This translates into special tariffs that has seen value of exports to the EU from Myanmar grow to over $800 million for the financial year 2016 – 2017. Reported figures for imports show a total value of $627 million for the same period. The Ministry of Commerce has also published figures showing total trade values of $1.4 billion, which includes trade from all countries including the EU. Trade was seen to grow more rapidly with the EU thanks to the GSP.

The GSP schemes offered by the various donor countries and their rules of origin differ fundamentally. Goods complying with the conditions of the GSP of the USA, for example, will not necessarily comply with the EU GSP. These GSP benefits have applied since 2013. In 2016 the USA also authorised special tariffs.

Annual figures from the EU indicate the leading countries in terms of annual volumes of trade are Germany and the UK. The products ordered being from the food production and wider agricultural sectors in Myanmar.

In 2015 the EU agreed a three-year development programme with Myanmar, to encourage trade between the two areas. This followed research that showed trading volumes were well below predicted values. The initiative has worked well.

The Myanmar Trade Development programme (TDP) was born, further signalling the re-emergence of Myanmar into world trade. The TDP is also aimed at enhancing sustainable economic growth, to raise standards of living and support inclusive development in Myanmar. The programme was implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in cooperation with the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce. The EU allocated 10.5 million Euros to the project, with 500,000 Euros from Germany.

Clearly with these initiatives trading volumes and demand are set to grow further. Both imports and exports enjoy confident and expanding markets.

FocusCore opened in Myanmar in 2014 to help companies establish a trading base in Myanmar. Our services assist with Myanmar Company Setup / Registration, Visa, Work Permit, Licence applications as well as on-going corporate support services ranging from bookkeeping to legal services to managed office space. Do not hesitate to contact us to learn how you can immediately start benefiting from your trading operations within this vibrant economy.

Flexible rules for overseas insurance companies in Myanmar.
17 Apr

Flexible rules for overseas insurance companies in Myanmar.

New rules have been announced relating to the funds required by an overseas insurance company, when operating in Myanmar. In the past, the capital fund required was set at $1 billion based on their operations in Myanmar. Although this figure remains unchanged, the insurer can now include the funding on their total operations, including figures from overseas. There has for some time been a call for change, due to what was seen as a high benchmark.

At present foreign insurance companies can only operate in the Special Economic Zones in Myanmar. In 2015 three insurance companies from Japan were awarded operational licences. More recently, reports have stated that further licence requests have been received from local and overseas insurance companies.

In October 2016, local sources disclosed that the government planned to open the market to foreign insurers during 2017. It was also said that the government planned to reduce restrictions on local firms, who until now have been required to offer only pre-defined products at standard prices. Furthermore, The Financial Regulation Department, under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, would present a ‘road map’ for insurance liberalisation.

Currently, insurance and insurance broking business must be conducted through either a company incorporated in Myanmar or a company established outside Myanmar with an established place of business in Myanmar.

Until 2013, Myanma Insurance was the sole insurer in Myanmar, and is the state-owned insurance company, founded in 1952. The Insurance Business Supervisory Board, which reports to the Ministry of Finance and Revenue, is responsible for licensing insurers, underwriting agents and insurance brokers. Myanma Insurance performs the work of the Supervisory Board.

There are reports that the Ministry of Planning and Finance will also introduce changes that would authorise foreign insurance companies to serve customers who are not within the Special Economic Zones. The Ministry is mandated “to formulate and implement effective monetary and financial policies to meet new political, economic, social, and other development objectives laid down by the State”. The ongoing growth in the Myanmar economy is leading to changes in rules for the insurance sector, together with an increasing demand for insurance services.

FocusCore helps companies start trading in Myanmar. We are not only capable of helping overseas companies fulfil the process of company incorporation and then operate in Myanmar, but also facilitate introductions to local and international companies already trading in Myanmar.

Myanmar Companies Act will become law before year end.
06 Apr

Myanmar Companies Act will become law before year end.

The Myanmar Companies Act will reform the regulation of companies, encourage more investment from overseas, and authorise foreign investors to purchase shares on The Yangon Stock Exchange. It is expected that The Act will become law before the end of the year, as confirmed by Mr. U Aung Naing Oo, Director General of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

The Myanmar Companies Act (formerly the Burma Companies Act) was enacted in 1914 and has served as the legal foundation for incorporated business in Myanmar.

The new Act will provide many benefits together with strong incentives to encourage further foreign investment in Myanmar.

Investors from overseas will be able to take up to 35% equity in a Myanmar company and the company will retain its classification as a Myanmar Company. Currently, any overseas equity investment changes the company status to that of “foreign ownership”.

It is expected that the figure of 35% could well go higher and act as a further catalyst for more foreign investment as the economy grows. Overseas Investors will also be authorised to purchase shares listed on The Yangon Stock Exchange. New funds arriving from overseas will add liquidity – take note – this could make share prices soar.

We meet many companies seeking to establish a new entity in Myanmar or join forces with an existing company. It is vital you follow the correct procedures for company incorporation, with the legal framework best suited to your needs. You must also obtain staff visas, stay permits and of course office space and all the items needed to operate as quickly as possible. We can help you with all of these requirements. We also provide a wide range of ongoing corporate support services.

If you are in hurry to get trading, we can provide you with staff, who are immediately available and on our payroll. They would be 100% dedicated to your commercial operations.

As the Myanmar economy grows and widens, more demand is being recorded for products and services across all sectors. Call us now to discuss how you can start trading in Myanmar today.

In summary these are the types of companies in Myanmar:

Sole proprietorships
Joint ventures between local and foreign business partners
Joint ventures with relevant Government departments and organisations
Local branches of foreign companies

Part of the FocusCore assist and support service helps you apply with the legal framework for:-

Incorporation and registration of company
Company management
Financial reporting and audit requirements
Share allocation and capital raising
Appointment of Board of Directors
General meetings and other procedures

Myanmar Contract Staffing and Payroll Services
16 Mar

Myanmar Contract Staffing and Payroll Services

Contract Staffing and Payroll Services are now a very popular solution in Myanmar.

Why companies are choosing FocusCore and MyWorld Careers in Myanmar.

The staff are hired by MyWorld, through FocusCore paid and insured by MyWorld. MyWorld employ them, everything is covered. Benefits for the client company are huge. Many international companies do not have corporate entities in this region but there is customer demand for their products and services. By using FocusCore & MyWorld, an immediate solution, the overseas company can respond to customers and immediately start operating in Myanmar.

As you may know FocusCore also helps companies complete the process for Company Incorporation in Myanmar. There are many steps to complete and of course these take time. But now there is a growing trend. This is hardly a surprise – a company wants to be first in the market, the first mover, to get into the market early – without the worry of setting up an office and obtaining licences. With FocusCore they can, by outsourcing their staff requirements.

FocusCore is an international third party manpower solution provider. Ever since Myanmar opened to more trade, companies are leveraging on FocusCore to gain a quicker entry into the Myanmar markets.

We provide a platform; we hire their employees directly, on their behalf, and place them into the roles as required.

The staff can be national or international. If they are foreign nationals we will be ready as soon as they arrive to cover all the required registration procedures, from insurance to visas, then payment of salary, corporate tax and social security contributions. This is our payroll and contracting service. For Myanmar nationals, they will already be registered in Myanmar with The Social Security Board (SSB). This administers Myanmar’s social security programmes, including benefits and contributions.

If a company wants to start operating in Myanmar they can, now, via FocusCore. We are client driven, we can supply staff tailored to a company’s requirements.

Companies who have planned to grow in Myanmar but are tied down by the timescales of incorporation can use our solution and enter the market very quickly. (If you require permanent staff, MyWorld has an extensive database of 20,000 profiles of bilingual Burmese talented candidates. MyWorld is Myanmar’s fasting growing recruitment company. They can complete a search of their databases and submit to you the candidates suitable for placement in your company).

The FocusCore contract staff and payroll services cover employee on-boarding, registration with the local tax offices, together with calculation and payment of social security payments and salaries. Payments can be made locally and offshore. The entire process is managed by FocusCore.

As far as we are aware FocusCore is the only company providing this service in Myanmar. The service is steadily growing. We can support many sectors and industries – technology, banking, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and more.

You may already know the skills that you need for your operation in Myanmar. We can find suitable people for you now, take them onto our payroll and they are available for you to start operations in Myanmar.

So to sum up……Contract Staffing and Payroll Services

• The staff are ’employed’ by us and work for you.
• We pay the wages and corporate taxes and social charges.
• We complete recruitment and selection processes for you and find the necessary expertise and resources – we manage the employment processes.
• We answer instantly your company needs – you do not have the expenses of hiring and terminating.
• Reduce your admin! We take care of all the required paperwork when hiring employees, so reducing the demand on your resources and saving you an enormous amount of time AND you start operating in Myanmar immediately.
• We screen applicants, complete reference checks, administer payroll and tax and social charges, payroll tax, public liability and professional indemnity.

Globally, employment laws are getting more and more complicated. Let FocusCore & MyWorld find, hire and pay the staff so you can start your company in Myanmar today. Please contact us today to find out more.

KBZ Bank opens New York US Dollar settlement facility via SMBC
08 Mar

KBZ Bank opens New York US Dollar settlement facility via SMBC

KANBAWZA Bank (KBZ Bank) Limited, part of the KBZ Group of companies, has confirmed that they now have USD settlement account facilities via the international bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s New York branch (SMBC New York).

This will provide “streamlined remittance services that enable faster, more convenient trade financing and transactions between Myanmar and the United States”.

The announcement was made by Mr. Nobuyasu Akagi, General Manager of SMBC Yangon and Mr. U Win Lwin, Managing Director of the International Banking Division of KBZ Bank. (At present, KBZ Bank has more than 414 branches across Myanmar with nearly 690 ATMs, and over 190 currency exchange counters).

Mr. Akagi, “The arrangement allows KBZ Bank to centralise its USD clearing services through SMBC New York, which also improves the management of fees for transactions as a result of having to process transfers via different banks with varying respective costs”.

Mr. Akagi added “this is a momentous development…..the opening of a USD account, as a Myanmar private bank is a good example of how Myanmar financial institutions are committed to join the international community….this development will spur business growth between both countries, with KBZ Bank customers now able to utilise SMBC New York’s 24-hour USD clearing service, which eliminates cut off times for transfers….by opening a settlement account, money transactions will become smoother and it means Myanmar will penetrate the international banking community.”

The press conference was also attended by diplomats from the US Embassy in Yangon.

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) is keen to encourage modernisation to bolster trade. One can still find the Hundi system for payments. Hundis are used as a form of remittance instrument to transfer money from place to place, as a form of credit instrument or IOU to borrow money and as a bill of exchange in trade transactions.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) was established in April 2001 through the merger of two leading banks; The Sakura Bank, Limited, and The Sumitomo Bank, Limited.

FocusCore Myanmar helps companies open, establish and run their operations in Myanmar. This announcement is more news on how new services are working to help the rapidly growing Myanmar economy. If you have enquiries about incorporating your company in Myanmar, or are already trading in Myanmar and wish to establish overseas links, do not hesitate to contact us. We have a team of international and national staff offering world class solutions and services.

Singapore companies choose Myanmar for overseas trade
24 Feb

Singapore companies choose Myanmar for overseas trade

For local companies in Singapore international trade is creating more revenue than local trade. These are the findings from recently published research and the annual survey of International Enterprise*(IE) Singapore. Results show that internationalisation is the key to driving growth. Results from 700 companies were analysed. Revenues grew faster from overseas, 4.2% overseas revenue growth compared to the 1.3% overall revenue growth. Overseas trading revenues were a higher percentage of the overall trading figures, compared to local revenue, for small to medium enterprises, at 53% (50% in 2015). Findings also show that firms seeking to grow their overseas trade reported their premier markets are Myanmar and Vietnam.

*(International Enterprise Singapore or IE Singapore, is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Singapore Government. Formerly known as the Singapore Trade Development Board, IE Singapore is the lead agency promoting international trade and partnering Singapore companies in going global).

Further details from IE Singapore confirm that with over 450 projects globally in 2016, the majority were in China and Southeast Asia. This ties in with comments from Standard Chartered Bank, who are confident that firms should remain “very keen to be open to trade and to business opportunities in these areas”. More recently, following the US election, there are growing concerns as to potential protectionist measures and the risk of a trade war between the US and China.

Lee Ark Boon the CEO of IE Singapore said, “For 2017, companies are facing greater uncertainty, but (from the) Government’s perspective we want to continue to ensure that we have the support and where possible increase the support for them to manage the risks and manage the uncertainties. This includes looking at markets beyond a country, going much deeper.”

Companies in the survey said they were targeting new markets and new business sectors. Notably the mention of digital platforms and the digital economy. In the region there is a steady growth in the proportion of people living in urban areas. IE Singapore sees more opportunities for infrastructure and digital economy projects. Indeed, the agency will step up their support for companies to help them win and supply these projects.

In 2016 IE Singapore helped 37,000 companies via various schemes. In terms of grants, more than 10,000 companies benefited from total allocations of S$73.4 million.

Together with the growth of Singapore via international trade, the agency noted that there is a strong trend towards jobs that are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET). Approximately six in 10 of jobs focussing on international trade were PMET positions, compared to roughly five in 10 for domestic focused jobs.

Direct investments overseas by Singapore (DIA) grew 2.5 per cent year-on-year (S$636.8 billion as of year-end 2015). Asia accounted for the largest percentage with 54 per cent. Growth in investment funding was driven by Asia, especially the emerging markets in India, Vietnam and Myanmar. You may have seen the blog last autumn from FocusCore in Myanmar

http://myanmarcs.focuscoregroup.com/singapore-is-now-the-largest-investor-in-myanmar/

FocusCore operate across ASIA in Singapore, Japan, Myanmar and Hong Kong. Our focus is to help companies prosper in these growing economies, offering a broad range of corporate and recruitment services, helping companies start new operations overseas and or expand nationally.

Comments from a Senior Director of the IE neatly confirms the positive findings of the IE Singapore survey, “The bustling South-east Asian market and its heavy demand for infrastructure and consumerism will likely ensure the region remains appealing to Singapore firms that want to invest abroad”.

FocusCore finds synergy with Asia Green Development Bank (AGD)
15 Feb

FocusCore finds synergy with Asia Green Development Bank (AGD)

FocusCore works with companies to help them complete all the necessary steps to incorporate their company in Myanmar. Now, when client companies visit FocsCore, an AGD Bank team can also attend and meet visiting company Directors to open a bank account and provide other financial services and products.

Commenting on the news, Eddy Herbert, Managing Director FocusCore Myanmar said “This is another addition to our range of corporate services. We can now provide turnkey account processing services with our partner, AGD Bank. When client companies visit us the bank team can also be present to meet the visiting company and start the process for opening accounts. For the incorporation of your company in Myanmar, a key requirement is the opening of a Bank Account. Now this step can also be started while visiting FocusCore. Thanks to AGD advanced bank services many other facilities are available online. This also means the bank is ideal for companies with overseas offices”.

AGD was founded in 2010 and has total assets of 366 billion kyat (US$366 million). The bank was founded by Tay Za and the Htoo Group of Companies. The bank now has over 60 branches in Myanmar. It was the first bank to provide ATMs, then on-line banking and is one of the few banks with a very strong digital mindset.

The bank selected Infosys systems (HQ India, revenue 1 billion USD 2016) for world class back end technology. These solutions are currently powering banks across 94 countries and serve over 848 million customers, estimated to be nearly 16.5 percent of the world’s adult banked population.

AGD with these advanced systems is now leading the way in Myanmar enabling International, Corporate & Personal Banking, eBanking, Card services with also eWallet and mobile banking.
AGD services include:-

International Banking Services
International Banking for personal and business needs. Foreign Currency Account, Foreign Exchange Service, Foreign Remittance.

Corporate Banking
For businesses large and small, AGD has the following services:-
Company’s Current, Saving and other accounts
Loans and Lending Services
Cards
Payment and Cash Management Services
Local Remittance

Card Services

By using AGD secured banking cards, you can manage your cash easily.
It is convenient and safe as you don’t have to carry cash. Payments can be made at both national and international shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and other places where the individual card payment scheme is accepted. If you need cash, you can use ATMs across the world to get the cash.
Online shopping is part of our daily life and having an AGD card can help to fulfil it. When you open a current account or saving account, the AGD customer service team can help you get a card account.

eBanking
Banking services via your computers or phones connected to the Internet.
Remittance
Checking your account balance
Viewing your transaction history
Online payment enquiries
Mini statements
Transfer funds
Pay bills
Enable mobile top up
View latest exchange rates
Call centre support
Language: Myanmar/English

Once your company incorporation is complete, FocusCore can be relied upon to provide you with a wide range of corporate support services covering recruitment, legal, compliance, and bookkeeping. World class serviced office space is also available. All designed to help you complete the Company incorporation process and start operations in Myanmar.