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Myanmar Business News in Brief

Gov’t invites tender for private investment in forest plantations

Myanmar is inviting foreign and domestic companies to invest in forest plantations on more than 100,000 hectares of government land, state-run media reported. The Forestry and Conservation Ministry is planning to privatise state-run forest estates throughout the country, the New Light of Myanmar reported. The country’s forest cover shrank to 47 percent of total land area in 2010, from 58 percent in 1990, ministry data showed. More than 60 percent of the concessions were granted in Kachin State and Tenasserim Division, two of the country’s most densely forested regions. Many of the concessions are allocated in natural forests and allow firms to log and sell old-growth trees, in order to clear the area for rubber or oil palm plantations.

Hong Kong firm to set up garment factory

Hong Kong-based garment firm Prosperity Knitwear Myanmar Ltd is investing $5.5 million to set up a garment factory in Thilawa industrial zone, local media reported. The apparel factory is set to become operational in December. The company is also planning to increase the investment for the garment factory up to $45 million by next year. The factory will produce sweaters and export them with the Marks and Spencer brand to England, Italy, and Canada. The factory is expected to provide a total of 2,500 jobs to the locals. Prosperity Knitwear Myanmar Ltd has investments in China, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh.

Ericsson, DFID to finance mobile broadband tech for education project

Ericsson and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have announced a project to connect up to 50 secondary schools in Myanmar to the internet through mobile broadband technology. The DFID is providing about £3.7 million in funding to be matched by its partners through cash and in-kind contributions. Part of the Girls Education Challenge, the project will also deliver educational programs for students and up to 600 scholarships to marginalised girls to help them complete their secondary education. This initiative aims to improve the learning outcomes of over 14,000 marginalised girls in Myanmar within two years. Other project partners include UNESCO, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Lund University start-up Finja Five, Qualcomm through its Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative, and external evaluator EduEval.

Fifteen more oil blocks to be up for grabs

Authorities will invite tenders from international firms for 15 more oil exploration blocks by the end of next year, according to Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise. Myanmar has so far awarded 40 oil and gas blocks to international energy giants such as PTTEP, Total, Woodside and Chevron. Oil and gas sector attracted the second stream of revenue from foreign companies in to Myanmar, amounting to over $14 billion as of August this year, or 30 percent of the total FDI inflow.

Ooredoo Myanmar offers services to update and personalise SMS

Ooredoo Myanmar has launched eight new SMS services for its customers last week. The services – SMS Signature, SMS Reply, SMS Copy, Hold SMS, SMS Schedule, Future SMS, SMS Check, Cancel SMS – will offer users the ability to personalise their communications with service-enhancing add-ons, the firm said. Included within the offering are services to automate a response, provide an individualised signature, pre-programme SMS sending and cancel an SMS that has been sent before it is delivered to a destination.

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