Myanmar grants more commerce licenses to Japanese firms in deregulation

05, Apr. 2019

YANGON, NNA – The government of Myanmar has granted three more Japanese companies commerce licenses as part of deregulation.

This brings the number of licensed Japanese firms to five, out of a total of seven foreign firms allowed to operate in the retail and wholesale markets in the country.

The government said Wednesday it had licensed Toyota Tsusho Corp., Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and brewer Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.

This allows the firms to shift from indirect selling through local agents to direct sales and importing, which should increase profit margins and help raise brand awareness.

Toyota Tsusho, a trading arm of Toyota Motor Corp., began operating its wholly owned subsidiary Toyota Tsusho Myanmar Co. on Monday, the first Japanese trading house to set up a corporation in Myanmar.

The local unit with a capital of $2.5 million deals in machines and machine parts, animal feed, medicine, building materials, farm products and metals.

Otsuka will wholesale “Pocari Sweat” isotonic drinks through wholly owned subsidiary, Otsuka Myanmar Ltd.

Asahi is approved for beverage and dairy products wholesaling via Asahi Loi Hein Co., its joint venture with local beverage maker Loi Hein Co.

The Myanmar government relaxed foreign ownership regulations for wholesalers and retailers in May last year, allowing more than 80 percent ownership on condition the initial investment tops $5 million and $3 million, respectively.

The first three foreign companies gained licenses the following October, two of them Japanese: Aeon Orange Co., a unit of Japanese retailer Aeon group, and Mycare Unicharm Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of diapers and healthcare products maker Unicharm Corp.

The Myanmar government has also granted licenses to DKSH Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss trader DKSH Holding AG, and Pacific Andaman (SEA) Co., a Thai-Myanmar consumer goods distributor.