News / Asia

    While Burma’s Chinese Businesses Thrive, Competition Worries Locals

    Boy sells fruit on sidewalk in Rangoon, Burma, December 5, 2011
    Boy sells fruit on sidewalk in Rangoon, Burma, December 5, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Daniel Schearf

    Burma’s political reforms have dominated headlines in the past year, but there is also high anticipation about a series of economic reforms.

    The measures could mean more opportunities for locals businesses and foreign ones, particularly Burma’s longtime trading partner, China.  The Chinese competition worries some businessmen in Burma.



    A man pounds a gold-trimmed ceremonial drum in a red wood frame at Rangoon’s Chinese-built Qing Fu Gong Temple.  This year, the Buddhist temple marks its 150th anniversary and is by no means short of worshippers.

    A steady stream of ethnic Chinese enter the temple, light incense and pray for good health and success.

    A woman shakes a cylinder of Chinese fortune sticks in front of a red and gold altar.

    The temple has long been a symbolic anchor of Rangoon’s Chinese community, which has engaged in centuries of commerce between the two nations.

    The temple provides Mandarin lessons, a free clinic and a pension for some community members, like U Htay Myint, 80.  Wearing large round glasses and a baseball cap, he says there are Chinese associations in cities and towns across Burma. He says there are many Chinese businessmen in Rangoon who are running companies and factories.

    Customers crowd a long glass display counter at the Golden Palace jewelry store. Rangoon’s Chinatown is in the heart of the city where Chinese traders have long-dominated the gold industry.  And like many places around the world, Chinese-made electronics, housewares, clothes and toys fill local shops.

    Burma’s government is beginning to reform its poorly managed economy by slowly reducing regulations and inefficient monopolies, expanding business opportunities. This month, Rangoon hosted a China Guangdong Commodities Fair with products ranging from solar panels to inflatable dolls.

    Yu Fang Fang, sales supervisor for Longtron Electronics based in Guangzhou in southern China, says her company, which sells mobile phones and computers, is eager to reach Burma’s 60 million consumers. She says Burma has big potential and, although their products are sold in Africa, Europe, and South America, in Southeast Asia there are relatively few.  She says they want to take this opportunity to get to know the market and then enter into it.

    Myat Kyaw Kyaw is one of Burma’s middlemen, using his connections to help importers and exporters navigate bureaucracy and get licenses. For him, the increased interest from foreign businesses can mean more opportunities. But there is still a worry that locals will not be able to compete with the new arrivals.

    He says when there is an open economy inside Burma they will need a policy from the government to support local businessmen. They are weak in business experience and in competing with foreign investors, he adds. Although he works as a broker Myat Kyaw Kyaw says what he really wants is to one day have a company of his own.

    You May Like

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora