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Myanmar Business News in Brief

Ministry mulls boosting balloon tourism

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said it is planning to boost hot air balloon rides to attract more tourists. Balloon flights will be expanded in major tourist attraction sites, including Inlay, Mandalay, Sagaing and Monywa, the ministry said. Currently, three companies – Balloons over Bagan, Myanmar Ballooning and Golden Express Tours – are operating balloon services in Bagan with a total of 21 balloons. Customers for the balloon rides are mainly from Europe and the United States, the ministry said. Balloon-ride passengers reached 17,802 last year, earning $4.23 million, up from 11,362 and $3.10 million in 2013.

FDI over $3b in first half of 2014-15FY

Foreign direct investment in Myanmar hit $3.68 billion in the first half (April- September) of the fiscal year 2014-15, according to Myanmar Investment Commission. The commission told the ongoing parliament that 99 new foreign firms were allowed to invest $3.58 billion and four other existing firms were permitted to put in $92.79 million during the period. Transportation sector received the highest amount of investment, accounting for 36.83 percent of the total FDI, followed by energy sector with 21.9 percent and property with 16.95 percent. Majority foreign investors were from the UK, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, while investments also came from Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Canada and Luxembourg, the commission added.

South Korean firm to build cable car

South Korean logistics firm Sky International is planning to build Myanmar’s first cable car system, worth $20 million. A joint venture was formed between Sky International and Asia International Fisheries, a local firm, to create the new entity Sky Asia, South Korean media reported. Sky International, which owns 80 percent of the new venture, won a 50-year contract from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) in December last year. The cable car will give easier access to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, better known as the golden rock, located at the summit of the 1,100-metre high mountain, Sky Asia’s CEO Yoo Sun-ha, was quoted as saying in Korea Herald.

No more Thilawa shares

Myanmar Thilawa Special Economic Zone Holdings Public Ltd will not sell additional shares for part A of the zone, the company’s managing director Thein Han told local media. The company sold 2.145 million shares during an initial sale from March with each share valued at K10,000.

Shell to spend $1.2b on oil exploration

Shell Myanmar Energy is set to spend $1.2 billion on offshore oil and gas exploration and provide $61 million as a signature bonus to state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the Ministry of Energy said. The company received licence to operate in offshore fields AD-9 and AD-11 in Rakhine State and MD-5 in Taninthayi region.

Cooperation with Johns Hopkins cancelled

The Education Ministry has cancelled the educational cooperation between Yangon University and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) without providing any reason, local media reported. During the tenure of former education minister Dr Mya Aye, there was a written agreement between the two universities, but it reportedly turned "sour" under the current education minister Dr Khin San Yi after she declared the agreement “unofficial.”

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