MPT picks up speed in telecoms race, from Myanmar

After signing a partnership with Japan’s KDDI Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation, it has quickly moved to modernise its operations and launch new tariff deals. Its latest mobile plan, Swe Thahar, cuts voice and SMS prices and changes the way MPT charges customers for internet usage, from by-the-minute to by-the-megabyte.  KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM) managing director Takashi Nagashima, MPT general manager Khin Maung Tun, chief technical officer Kenichi Ono and other company officials sat down with a small panel of journalists

App developer expo coming in February, from Myanmar

AppExpo 2015 will run from February 19 to 20 at the MICT park, and will once again be organized by Yangon Heartz Media and Business Solutions, a local technology start-up. In addition to giving local programmers and software engineers a chance to network, Yangon Heartz Media CEO U Zaw Zaw Myo Lwin told The Myanmar Times that this year’s expo would include a US$500 prize for the ‘best app,’ to be chosen by a panel of judges at the event.

Yangon Stock Exchange closer to reality

Two Japanese firms and Myanma Economic Bank on December 23 signed an agreement to establish the Yangon Stock Exchange, which is set to be opened late 2015. The agreement between Daiwa Institute of Research, an arm of Daiwa Securities Group, as well as Japan Exchange Group and state-owned Myanma Economic Bank, is the result of discussions that have been ongoing since May 29, 2012, when a memorandum of understanding was initially signed.

Yangon developer group hosts intro to new language

The Lambda Talks “Seminar on Functional Programming” educated attendants in Myanmar’s most populous city on the fresh tech tack. GDG community manager Ko Ye Lin Aung said the event sought to spur participants to take on functional programming and retrain their brains to include the paradigm when considering possible ways of approaching a coding problem.

All Greek no more – Google adds Myanmar

Google Translate upped its number of supported languages to 90 on December 12 by incorporating 10 new languages, four of which were Asian: Myanmar, Malayalam, Sinhala, and Sudanese, said a Google Asia Pacific blog post. The initiative has been simmering for some time, and comes more than a year after Google executive chair Eric Schmidt visited Myanmar and promised the company would develop services for the country that included translation.

Rocket Internet launches ecommerce store in Myanmar

Rocket Internet, the German startup dynamo that focuses on emerging markets, has already been operating in Myanmar for just over two years with several classifieds sites. But now the company says it’s ready to do something new and very challenging – launch an actual ecommerce site in Myanmar.

Yangon network not complete, says exec

The Norwegian telco’s top executive, who tested out Telenor’s coverage during a visit to Yangon last week, in part pinned “capacity constraints on the existing number of base stations” on traffic generated by crowds of customers. He also called rolling out base stations the firm’s top priority, followed by providing sites “the necessary energy to fly the capacity”. The company anticipates putting up 8000 mobile towers nationally in the next five years, according to Telenor Myanmar representative Ko Soe Thu Tun.

Here’s a comprehensive primer on starting up in Myanmar

Life of an entrepreneur in nascent but up-and-coming ecosystems is rough and tough – just ask these Burmese founders. Yes, Myanmar is indeed starting to embrace a level of openness which can only mean good things for businesses. But like in any other Asian country, taking note of nuances can help you prosper locally. For this reason, Harald Friedl, managing director of a local renewable energy company, has penned down a comprehensive 27-pages-long guide for first-timers who are thinking of starting up in Myanmar.

China, Myanmar agree on

BEIJING–China has signed agreements worth US$7.8 billion with neighboring Myanmar, state media reported Saturday, as Beijing continues to assert its growing economic clout in Southeast Asia. Deals overseen by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Myanmar President Thein Sein on Friday included agreements to build power plants fuelled by natural gas, the state-run China Daily reported.

TEEMA to invest NT$14 billion in Myanmar

TAIPEI, Taiwan — To tap the business potential of Myanmar, the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA) recently decided to invest NT$14 billion to develop an industrial park in southern Myanmar. The Economic Daily News earlier cited industry insiders to report that the park is in Myanmar’s southern Irrawaddy Division. TEEMA (台灣區電機電子工業同業公會) said it wants to invest NT$14 billion to provide a base for possibly dozens of Taiwanese electrical-component makers. If it goes ahead the project would create hundreds of semi-skilled jobs.

Myanmar’s first RPG isn’t great, but it’s a great start

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Myanmar’s first RPG had been published. Well, that game, DarkEnd, has now been put through its paces at Games in Asia. Here’s what we think. DarkEnd is marketed as an indie RPG, but in truth, it’s actually an action RPG. It’s centred around four individuals, who, although living cliches of fantasy game stereotypes, have been developed with great attention to detail.

Tips on how to build a startup in a frontier market (Yangon Meetup)

It’s an exciting time for Myanmar right now, which is just only coming out from under a 40-year old dictatorship regime. Just last year, only 0.16 percent of Myanmar’s population had access to the internet, and it is estimated that roughly 10 percent of their people own a mobile phone. The situation in Myanmar now is not too different from post-communist Vietnam, who only managed to pull away from the extreme poverty line in 2008. Since then, a combination of accelerators, events, and startups have sprouted in Vietnam in steadily growing numbers. The question is, can Myanmar pull it off as well?

Myanmar to build open source e-government platform

The first phase of the platform will be launched at the end of the year with functions allowing officials to manage citizen data and exchange information with other ministries and local governments, according to Vietnamese media reports. The platform will be upgraded in 2015 with cloud technology, and capabilities to handle more complex datasets and mobile users, it added.

Vietnam’s Hanel DTT plans Myanmar e-gov’t platform

The ceremony for the signing of the agreement was held at a Viet Nam-Myanmar business matching session in Yangon, Myanmar, on Wednesday. The two sides have agreed to share their resources to implement e-government projects in Southeast Asia, and work in government-to-government (G2G) systems on the projects. They will also exchange information, experience, technology and experts to build OEP communities in order to expand OEP functions and carry out projects of the two countries.

Myanmar tech sector sizzles amid Internet boom

YANGON, Sept 28 — From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation. Myanmar web surfers were once paradigms of patience and ingenuity as they dodged and weaved through the former military regime’s communications blocks in decrepit backstreet Internet cafes.

MyChat: a chat app to conquer Myanmar?

Myanmar is a country that is still off the map for most investors and startups. It’s considered to be years behind Cambodia, which is in turn, years behind Vietnam, which is behind Thailand. And everyone is behind Indonesia in interest level. The numbers in Myanmar reveal the reason. In a population of 60 million people, below five million  are online.

Startup aims at Myanmar’s youngest of early adopters with educational iPad app

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.

High definition calls and high speed Internet now come to Myanmar

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.

Wassup WhatsApp? Viber claims an early lead in Myanmar with 5 million registered users

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.

Myanmar’s new mobile internet users embrace Android smartphones, pick Viber over Facebook

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.