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Myanmar Business News in Brief

SMBC to open Yangon branch on April 23

Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) last week received a licence from the Central Bank of Myanmar to open a branch in Yangon. The bank said the branch will commence operation on April 23. The branch will be located at Level#5, Strand Square, No.53, Strand road, Pabedan township.

CityMart starts accepting Visa cards

The country’s largest supermarket chain CityMart has teamed up with Visa and KBZ Bank to roll out card acceptance at selected branches, a first for a supermarket chain in Myanmar. Customers can now pay with their Visa debit and credit cards at CityMart in Junction Square, Market Place by CityMart at Golden Valley and Market Place by CityMart at Parkson, in Yangon. CityMart operates 19 branches in Myanmar.

Thilawa to be operational this year

The first phase of the Japanese-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project will be completed and put into commercial operation by June, an official report said. The entire facility, which is expected to complete by 2016-17, will create some 40,000 job opportunities, the report said.

India to build IT institute in Mandalay

The International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B) is collaborating with its counterpart in Mandalay to build information technology institute in Myanmar’s second largest city, the Indian Embassy in Yangon said. The Mandalay Institute of Information Technology, which is the “center of excellence” for IT modeled on IIIT-B is being implemented. For next step, the entrepreneurship development institute in Yangon is also in the process of tying up with Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-Lucknow). India has also provided support to English language department in Yangon University and a language laboratory for Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enable its officials to learn foreign languages.

Air Mandalay to resume scheduled flights from May

Local carrier Air Mandalay will resume scheduled commercial flights on May 1, Sai Kham Park Hpa, CEO of Air Mandalay, told ch-aviation. Operations from Yangon to Heho, Tachilek, Thandwe, Mandalay, Myitkyina and Nyaung-u will use the carrier's recently inducted fleet of two ex-AeroMéxico Connect ERJ-145s.

MAI to ramp up fleet

The CEO of state-backed carrier Myanmar Airways International (MAI), Tin Maung Htun, told the Airfinance Journal that his airline is looking to increase its fleet from the current three A319-100s and one A320-200 from the middle of next year onwards. MAI is also looking at moving away from its Yangon hub as it prepares to increase its international footprint, he added.

Foreign stock investors to be tightly controlled

Tight restrictions will be imposed to prevent foreign investors from controlling the stock bourse before the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) opens in October, said chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM). Currently, the SECM doesn’t give permission to foreign funds and institutional investors to invest instantly in the YSX. Dr Maung Maung Thein told local media that the commission will use the Company Act to control foreign investment, and that allowing foreign investors to invest freely will drive the smaller local players out of business.

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