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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid