Only about 10 percent of Myanmar’s population have a mobile phone right now – and even fewer have a smartphone or tablet. While Myanmar is an exciting, new, and sizable market, it’s still very early days. One startup based in Yangon is keen on gaining traction in this formative stage. A team of app developers recently released its first educational iPad app, called Phew (pictured above). It’s designed to help kids learn how to write the mellifluously flowing characters of the Burmese language. The Brahmic script, like Thai or Tibetan, is quite hard to write.
The Information Age will finally come to Myanmar as 68 of its cities and towns acquire access to high definition calls and high speed Internet access starting August 15. A press statement by Ooredo Myanmar quoted their mobile telecoms operator firm as saying that the launch of this service marks the very first time such services will be available to people in the country.
Viber is claiming an early lead ahead of all its messaging app rivals in the newly opened up country of Myanmar. Viber said today that it now has five million registered users in Myanmar. “The growth rate is exceptional and we are thrilled that Myanmar mobile users have joined the Viber family,” said Talmon Marco, Viber’s CEO in an announcement. It comes a day after Marco appeared by video link (using Viber?) at a company event in Yangon, the former capital that remains Myanmar’s cultural hub.
Half of Myanmar’s mobile internet users came online during the past 12 months, according to a major survey in the newly emerging nation. 49 percent of all the country’s web users only access the web on their phones. That means the people of Myanmar are skipping the era of PCs entirely. They’re also sidestepping basic ‘feature phones’ and are instead leaping straight into Android smartphones. The survey from On Device Research, which questioned people and also monitored the device they’re using, found that China’s Huawei is the number one phone brand in Myanmar with 71 percent of respondents using an Android-powered Huawei smartphone.
The US-based Microsoft Corporation has agreed to work with Myanmar Computer Company to train some 100,000 young people for cloud computing and related information technologies. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding becoming partners in the training programme. Microsoft Corporation will work together with a Myanmar local company to train at least 100,000 young people in Microsoft’s cloud computing and other latest technologies in the country, according to sources.
My first encounter with Myanmar happened around a board table at Indosat HQ in Jakarta, Indonesia. If I am honest, I probably couldn’t have told you where Myanmar was on a map when that meeting began. As I watched the briefing slides flip through, I wondered if it was possible to do what we were about to attempt. Fewer than one percent of the population on the internet; fewer than five percent with a mobile phone; a few computer associations – that was about it for the newly-opened country’s tech scene.
Despite its late start in the global economic race, Southeast Asia is now considered to have one of the world’s fastest growth rates, with an average GDP of more than 6% over the past decade. The World Bank forecasts that after the economic recession, countries such as the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos will begin to recover their GDP momentum, and can expect growth rates of more than 7% in 2015.
Rita Nguyen delivered an electrifying keynote speech on the opportunities awaiting technology companies that expand into Myanmar to close the conference session for Startup Asia Singapore Day 1. Her wide-ranging presentation delivered insights gleaned from her work as co-founder and CEO of Squar.Asia, a social media and gaming company making strong headway in Myanmar.
(Thaketa) Co. Ltd (“MAXPOWER”), a Myanmar power generating subsidiary of the Navigat Group, today executed a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) in relation to the construction and operation of a fifty (50) MW gas-fired power plant located within the Thaketa district of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. The plant will utilise the efficient and advanced technology of sixteen (16) GE’s (General Electric) Jenbacher gas engines. MAXPOWER‘s has invested US$35MM in the plant which is now fully operational.
APR Energy, a global leader in fast-track power solutions, today announces the signing of a large-scale, turnkey power contract in Myanmar. The facility will provide the Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise (MEPE) with a guaranteed minimum of 82 megawatts (MW) of power generation, with plant capacity to deliver up to 100MW. Based in Kyaukse, in the Mandalay Region, and fueled by natural gas, the APR Energy solution will be one of the largest thermal plants in the country and will provide power to more than six million people. The APR Energy contract is the first power generation agreement signed by a US-based company with the government of Myanmar since the lifting of sanctions in 2013.