In May 2014, ABB re-established a Yangon branch office after its decade-long absence from Myanmar, re-entering the market with a broad and deep product portfolio ranging from switchgear to industrial robots, service capabilities as well as the motivation to develop young local engineering talent in Myanmar.
In line with its global divisional setup, ABB provides products and services across five primary fields in Myanmar – power products, power systems, discrete automation and motion, low voltage products and process automation.
The need for the improvement and expansion of power systems in Myanmar is of paramount importance for progress in Myanmar such as the development of industrial capacity. Still, the development of the power grid lags behind any other country in the region regarding issues of network instability and insufficient electricity access.
“Given the size of Myanmar, its population potential and the current status of the power infrastructure which provides access to electricity to an estimate of just one third of the population, there is tremendous demand and need in the market for ABB’s state-of-the-art products and sustainable solutions. Myanmar’s power infrastructure is still well behind its neighbour Thailand, where there is 35,000 megawatt (MW) of installed capacity in contrast with 3,300MW in Myanmar,” said Chaiyot Piyawannarat, managing director of ABB in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
At present, ABB is prioritising and targeting the installation of capacity for energy generation and transmission. One recently completed project is the installation of the first mixed-technology substation (MTS) in Myanmar, the Ahlone substation in Yangon.
In the future, ABB is committed to expanding its activities with both, the end-customer side (represented by the Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP)) as well as plant developers.
On the industrial side, developments in manufacturing as well as the food and beverage industry, however, have the potential to drive the automation and robotics business segment in the medium and long term.
In addition, ABB has regionally been involved in the installation of high-voltage transmission systems for up to 500 kilovolt by providing equipment such as transformer and switchgear products.
Apart from the provision of physical products, key to ABB’s Myanmar strategy is the consideration of the entire value chain. “In order to establish ABB as a leading player, our philosophy is that – wherever we go – we want to build up technical service capabilities in order to maintain the functioning of our assets – our products – and to satisfy the customers.”
ABB’s re-establishment and current operations on the Myanmar market have been supported by its subsidiary in Thailand, where ABB is present with about 1,000 employees at seven locations and with manufacturing and service facilities. Technical components and expertise from Thailand are therefore available wherever needed in Myanmar. Transparent due diligence procedures and standards regarding new projects in Myanmar are followed by ABB.
ABB’s commitment to a long-term presence in Myanmar is underlined by its cooperation with Yangon Technological University (YTU). ABB is hereby planning to support the teaching through providing technical equipment as well as the occasional involvement of ABB’s experts in the teaching. At the occasion of the landing of the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse in Mandalay in March, ABB also initiated a community development project in villages of Tada Oo township in the field of solar energy in cooperation with PACT Myanmar.