I visited to Hanoi, Vietnam last week. I had chance to visit milk factories, paramedical products manufacturing factories and many other sectors. I learned that Vietnam opens the business door to everyone in the world. There are lots of foreign investments and foreign companies. Those companies land on real estate market, stock exchange market, industrial zones and many others. I asked people where software houses exist. They told me software and many IT businesses are locating in Saigon. By the way, Vietnam and Myanmar is having a closed relation for business and many other deals. The reason is Vietnam and Myanmar are look-alike to each other in many industries. But Vietnam is a bit richer than Myanmar country. Just after 60 years of war ending with US, Vietnam speeded up their economy growth. Their growth is really going fast. But still I can get the sense that Hanoi is similar to Yangon in somethings. You may wonder what it does relate to my article title ‘IT industry and it’s future in Myanmar’. IT industry is not actually driving Vietnam to get developed. Their core business include exploring Agriculture products, machines and many others. IT industry is just in developing state. I used a Vietel SIM card and that card is not supporting yet Video call for Facebook messenger.
Vietnam is buying high technology from Japan, Russia, US and many other western and Europe countries. That’s why I tell you that Vietnam is similar to Myanmar. But Myanmar is not getting to that level yet. So here let’s start talking about Myanmar. There are only about 100 technology companies which are active. When talking about technology, it include software developing, web developing, networking service and product selling, other systems and hardware for industries. Most hardware and system software for industrial usages in Myanmar comes from Japan and other countries. Then who are getting rich by IT business in Myanmar? I swear you won’t find billionaire and millionaire in Myanmar IT industry. I’m confidence on my saying because of current situation in Myanmar.
Internet speed and user population
Internet services we are getting so far right now in Myanmar is not convenient enough. Mobile internet speed is not stable yet. Don’t talk about HD streaming video, it’s to far. Internet user volume is less than 10 percent in Myanmar today. It’s about 8 million. User population increment also depend on how much internet service are comfortable for people.
Lack of other industry developments
Lots of product manufacturing and service business are not believing that internet is something which can support their business in some ways. Developing a website is something they come to interest. But they aren’t thinking yet what softwares should be used for internet process speeding up, what online platforms should be used for marketing and advertising, what should be used for customer relationship maintenance. Many companies came in Myanmar to promote Taxi calling apps. But they postponed the project because Taxi in Yangon are more than the number people need. Stand beside a road in Yangon, close your eyes, put one of your hand horizontal in the air and you will get a Taxi in less than 10 second. Believe me. Taxis are everywhere in Yangon. But such Taxis are not really helping but making traffic in Yangon. So people don’t need some tech services yet.
Local banks are trying to making self-surviving payment system which we can use internally in Myanmar. It’s not successful yet. Paying in cash is a painful thing to do. But people are not seeing it as a busy thing to do. People still love to hold cash in hand. Sanction also block us to use premium products and hi-tech products. Global technology firms and companies are not arriving yet.
Lack of skilful human sources
I admit that there are not too much skilful workers for IT industries in Myanmar. It makes global IT products and service companies not to land their businesses in Myanmar. They can’t hire skilful people in Myanmar. Skilful workers in IT industry in Myanmar is not enough to welcome multinational companies such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Apple, etc to build industries. I’m just imaging. The investment law of Myanmar is also blocking other countries not to come in Myanmar. The rule is to work together with a local company. No companies have chance to stay along, but make a join venture with local companies.
Sanction and political situation
Sanction affect the country a lot. We don’t have chance to use Google Ads, Spotify, and other global online payment systems. Also as I said, international companies can’t expand their business in Myanmar yet easily.
Small opportunities in Myanmar for IT companies
If you make an IT business, it’s just a category of the businesses and government don’t give you special chance. You don’t get discount and other promotion in setting up companies and buying raw materials needed.
Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Job, Tim Cook and many other success IT businessmen can be found in Silicon Valley, USA. IT business is something which is needed only after other industries equally developed. USA had computer revolution in 1990s. People started to change their behaviour from using calculator to computer. Later they loved it. Before computer, their life is also easy enough. Steve Job found it difficult to sell the first computer. What I mean is IT business can only survive and succeed in the countries where other industries are already developed. They have money, they have luxury things, and they have a simple life with no worries. Therefore their curiosity make them to develop new things which is IT products and those products help them in life. Later they realized that IT products and service are bringing up the country to a higher level than other countries. Western countries are competing each other by investing new and high technology today. That’s too much higher than we are seeing in Myanmar and unnecessary yet in Myanmar.
However it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start IT business in Myanmar. You should start, but only one thing you need to know is you have to wait. You have to wait until everything has developed. It finally relate to the political situation of Myanmar. Or it will loop in the amaze of problems. We start IT business because we believe for a change in the country and we believe we are doing something we love and something difference.