Yesterday, I attended the MobileMonday event and listened the topic, skills needed to run business in Mobile Money industry. CEO of Frontier Technology partners shared his working process and skills they had. Audience asked lots of question and he also answered. But I had no time to ask him one question, which is how we gonna change people’s behaviour?
In Myanmar, tech business and tech products are very new to people. It’s not all about creating products. If it is a consumer product, you better need to focus on thinking what people want. For example, let’s talk about Mobile Money. Mobile Money is making payment, money transition via mobile phone. It was developed for poor country where banks cannot reach to rural area. People living in countryside or rural area can now use mobile money for money payment and it really helps a lot in African countries. There are many countries and millions of people, using Mobile Money today. So when will Myanmar people use? Mobile Money is actually for those who cannot have bank account easily.
Do you think would it works in Myanmar? As far as I see, local banks are now going many cities and towns in the country. However, low income people are not having bank account yet. Only people who live in main cities are educated about banking, but not everyone. So how about Mobile Money? How does payment system work? It is saving money in mobile money account and using it by sending message. If someone is buying things from by mobile money. You gotta have to find the nearest brokers to get paid. It’s cool anyway. Using bank account or mobile money account is fine. As banks are now penetrating rural area, I am see the day both are competing. They are not competitors actually. They are relying on each other vice visa. Anyway, will people understand about it? And when will people know benefit of using mobile phone for payment?
That’s the only one question. Since 2010, many online shopping websites has been emerging in Myanmar. But many of them has been stopped. It is only because of one reason, which is they don’t have users. People are not using because they don’t know advantages and how to use it very well. So the reason is people are not educated well. Also they are not changing their behaviour. Today we have many materials and resources to educate people. We are also doing it a lot. From technology side, mostly everything has been implemented. People can use local payment system, developed by local tech companies to used in online shopping. But people are not using it yet. People are not changing their behaviour.
Changing lifestyle or behaviour is a kind of hard things to do. Even we are not changing yet. People like comfort zone and feel afraid to jump the cliff. Most Myanmar people don’t like adventure and challenges. They like comfort zone. Because of that reasons, tech companies are having problems in moving their business forward. Only one thing I tell to those who start tech business in Myanmar, which is to educate people. To educate people, you are not the only one who is responsible to do. Tech companies need a co-operation in the educating campaign. Tech companies have to provide resources to media and marketing/ advertising companies to run campaign.
Changing something takes time, mostly lifestyle. You are going to make people shop online and pay mobile. It is the good time to start tech business. On the other hand, it’s also the good time to educate people. We have internet, TV channels and newspaper. Making a change matters.
Author: Aung Kham