Thanks to an explosion of investment in the past couple years, around 90 percent of people in Myanmar currently have access to smartphones with Internet connections, according to the Myanmar Computer Federation. From a marketing perspective, this situation presents an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically increase exposure of products and services inside the country and beyond.
One group that has emerged to respond to these opportunities is Pintale360', a partnership formed in March 2018 between leading Thai digital advertising firm 360 Innovative and local marketing services agency Pintale, operating under Mandalay Advertising Group.
The partnership hopes to build a bridge between traditional marketing and the digital transformation that is already well underway in Myanmar. In an exclusive interview with Mizzima, 360 Innovative Vice President for Business Development Ying Amekong and 360Pintale' Managing Director Kyaw Zay Ya talked about their hopes for the future.
Could you just begin by saying a little bit about your companies?
Ying Amekong: 360 Innovative was actually founded in 2008 as a creative and production house and then we expanded widely. Today we are a full digital marketing agency based in Bangkok. Now we are looking to expand into Myanmar, and for this we have found Pintale.
Kyaw Zay Ya: Pintale is the sister company of Mandalay Advertising Group, one of the media agencies in Myanmar since 2009. Our strength is in the traditional side of media, so that's why for this period we would like to extend into digital, that's why we are here.
Can you just give me a brief overview of the Myanmar digital market right now?
Ying Amekong: We found a statistic that looked at digital spenders in Myanmar, and it showed growth of about 30 percent since last year, and it's increasing every year. This is a great opportunity for us to expand, while also providing services for our clients in Thailand and globally. Based on the statistics, people are increasingly using mobile. That's why the digital business in Myanmar is going to be increasing a lot.
And was that part of the partnership, that you felt like you needed someone that worked less in the digital realm to come together with 360 Innovative?
Ying Amekong: Coming to Myanmar, there are language barriers, and that's why we need partners who have rich local insights and who can help us on the language as well. So we have found Pintale, which has a very good background in the marketing industry already.
Kyaw Zay Ya: We have more than eight years experience in Myanmar. And also, one thing is, the sister company Mandalay Advertising Group is the accredited media agency for all of the TV channels, so those are very good reasons to partner with us.
How did this collaboration between 360 Innovative and Pintale originate?
Ying Amekong: We started working on one project together and we found that we could work together strongly, and then we discussed how we're going to develop this business in this developing market. So we have seen each others' strengths, and it's also a good chance for providing this service in this market as well.
What would you say your company's mission over the next two to three years would be in Myanmar?
Ying Amekong: Our mission is about trying to improve the digital marketing and the resources as well. Because Myanmar is a developing country where the skills and development of digital are lacking. That's why we are here. We're offering training programmes and some other exchange programme to develop the resources.
Kyaw Zay Ya: We also have an alliance with other Myanmar companies, like digital agencies, with whom we would like to do business.
Ying Amekong: Other companies that are doing business like us, we don't see them as competitors, we see them as allies for developing this market, to make it stronger together.
What else would you say about your commitment to the industry?
Ying Amekong: We would like to give an opportunity for Myanmar brands to have another level of service provided by us, not only spending lots of dollars on campaigns, but also seeing returns on investment. We have another company called DEC Group, based in Singapore. They are serving global clients and have expanded widely in Southeast Asia. This connection has become the unique point of the company and could reduce a lot of the costs for our clients. So, there will be some interesting trends happening.
Kyaw Zay Ya: Some of the Thai clients and some of the global clients we will bring to Myanmar, and also some of the Myanmar clients looking to expand to other countries, we can help.
And has that not happened in the recent past, that Myanmar brands have expanded outside of the country?
Kyaw: One thing is that some of the local brands, they are starting to expand into the Thai market, like into Sumut Sakhon Province.
What is the reason you have chosen to work together with Mandalay Advertising Group?
Ying Amekong: One of the reasons is that we have found that Mandalay Group is very strong in traditional media, and they also have a great history in this industry. Actually, it's a great opportunity to put both of our strengths together and become 360 Pintale, to offer the service to our client.
Is there anything else that you'd like to add about your hopes for the business or your hopes for Myanmar?
Kyaw Zay Ya: What I believe is that our digital industry, it can grow faster and faster, so that's why we believe that our business is an alliance. We will grow together, along with the clients.
Ying Amekong: Myanmar has a lot of opportunities in Asia, even the world. It just needs some support in this market, so we are here to support all of you and also provide another level of service to all kinds of brands. We think that our mission and vision can serve this market better.