With more companies recognising the unique opportunities available in Myanmar’s fast-moving business community, a duel may begin over something more than profits.
Much like Yangon’s roads being strangled into gridlock by a sudden influx of cars, the city’s limited office space is going to find itself in high demand.
“It’s very difficult to find office space here. There are many problems such as options are few and far between, the rentals are very high and landlords expect a year’s rent in advance,” said Scott Lane, who is interested in setting up a business in Yangon.
Among the limited options available, one of the more popular options in Yangon’s downtown is Sakura Tower on Bogyoke Aung San Road. However, they are currently fully booked.
Sakura’s cheapest option starts at $5,000 per month, which leaves limited choice for those businesses with lower start-up capital.
The Su Mon, sales manager at the Sakura Tower, admits to another problem – many of the facilities are not of a high enough standard.
“A number of clients who use many of the office spaces around the city are complaining about poor maintenance and regular power cuts,” she said. One venture that has recognised this need for more office space in the city is Ventura Office Ltd., adapting a model that is becoming increasingly popular across Asia – particularly in China – and the entire business world.
Ventura’s space will offer both a physical and virtual office, along with administrative support. The physical office makes use of a contemporary villa that has been converted from a residential building. It includes executive rooms, a conference room, co-working spaces, as well as more private “flexi-desks” and printing facilities.
The “virtual office” is aimed at businesses, or businesspeople that regularly visit the country, but are not yet in a position to set up an office, and will provide a Yangon-based mailing address and phone number.
“The main thing we offer is flexibility”, said Andreas Sigurdsson, one of the founders. “New companies arriving in Myanmar are unlikely to know how quickly they are going to grow in the first few months, so will not want to commit to an office space a year or two in advance. Here, they can hire desks on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, allowing them time to grow their business before deciding how much space they need.”
“Also, we’d like to see this place used as a great networking space, as we will offer food and perhaps some beers in the evening,” said Shan Nathan, another co-founder of Ventura Office.