Government investment statistics indicate a growing interest amongst Vietnamese businesses in investing in Myanmar. Vietnam now comes in fourth amongst ASEAN countries after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia with a total investment of US$700 million. And Vietnam expects to see a dramatic rise in their investment value to US$1.5 billion in the near future. Bilateral trade stands at US$346 million.
The main sectors Vietnamese companies work in are agriculture, fisheries, finance, telecommunications, logistics, tourism, oil and gas sector and information and communications technology or ICT.
Among these companies, FPT Corporation has been sharing their expertise with Myanmar, providing consultancy for government associations and leading enterprises in Myanmar, as well as establishing partnerships with these organizations.
FPT says the Myanmar market is one of the main targets for the corporation’s globalization strategy. With this in mind, FPT Myanmar was established in 2013 and it places a strong focus on business fields that include systems integration, telecommunications, and IT training.
In this interview, Mizzima reporter Aung Thura talked to FPT Myanmar Chairman Duong Dung Trieu about FPT Myanmar operations and strategy in Myanmar.
Can you tell us about FPT Myanmar’s overall strategy in Myanmar?
Duong Dung Trieu: FPT is an information and communications company and it is also an ICT company in Vietnam. FPT Myanmar was established three years ago. Our strategy is to view the infrastructures including network infrastructure, and internet infrastructure for Myanmar. Secondly, we want to view the people and we want to bring our experience from the FPT university of Vietnam to Myanmar for the purpose of exchanging development programmes in Myanmar. Thirdly, we want to bring jobs from overseas to Myanmar.
Why are Vietnamese companies interested in doing business in Myanmar?
It has to do with two things that Vietnamese companies are here. FPT Corporation and Vietnamese companies want to do business in Myanmar for many reasons. The first one is that Myanmar and Vietnam have a long term relationship and history, so we have been in a good relationship since Vietnam was set up as a Socialist country in 1945. And we have a historic relationship as a result of our leader Ho Chi Minh visiting Myanmar to have an exchange in cooperation. And Myanmar supported Vietnam for a long time in World War II. So we want to reestablish the relationship between Myanmar and Vietnam. The second reason is that Myanmar and Vietnam have a similar status and situation, Vietnam also had an embargo for a long time by the US and Western countries and Myanmar’s situation is similar. Now, Myanmar has seen the embargo lifted and is changing into a new modern country. That is why Vietnamese companies including FPT company want to cooperate to bring investment to Myanmar and bring our experience.
Nowadays, FPT Myanmar and Vietnam Bank-BIDV have signed an agreement to get financial support. Can you explain the agreement?
FPT and BIDV have a long term cooperation in Vietnam. FPT developed the environment of BIDV IT solutions and applications, and vice versa (BIDV supports FPT in terms of financial support, in terms of loans and guarantees).So, we bring our relationship here. In Myanmar, we cooperate in two areas. The first one is BIDV Yangon branch gives the guarantee for FPT Myanmar for the loan process for FPT Myanmar projects. The second one is FPT Myanmar supports BIDV Yangon branch in terms of IT solutions and new technology for the bank. We have already signed for the loan amount of US$20 million.
FPT, Myanmar Pay Union-MPU and Napas-the national payment corporation of Vietnam officially signed the cooperation agreement to implement a national financial switching system for Myanmar. Can you tell us the main points about this agreement?
Under the agreement, FPT acts as the investor for the implementation of software, hardware, operations and other technical support for the project.NAPAS,an FPT strategic partner, takes the role of co-investor.MPU invests in infrastructure and runs the business operation in its existing market. The first phase of the project is expected to begin in early 2017. During this phase, MPU will get past experiences and the best practices of NAPAS and FPT to ensure a successful transition to an advanced payment switching system. The contract to implement a national financial switching system for Myanmar was signed between MPU and FPT on July 4,2016. The business model is revenue sharing and the system will be completed within a year and FPT will be a technical partner and investor for the following 10 years. The project is expected to kick off in August 2016 and be put into official operation in early 2017.
Will it be beneficial for CLMV countries in terms of tourism?
We have the local and sea services, so this can be achieved for the border connecting between MPU, NAPAS and the two central banks of Laos and Cambodia. And thus, tourists can use debit, credit and payment cards within the CLMV countries.
Now, the four CLMV countries implement “Four Countries: One Destination” for tourism and try to set up a supportive banking system. How do you view the challenges and obstacles within these CLMV countries?
I think that most of the problems of all the banking systems of CLMV countries are infrastructure, namely IT infrastructure and human capacity and the standard regulations, so we cannot provide good service and high quality service for our customers because of poor infrastructure. So we must upgrade these infrastructures so that it will be good for our customers. So, FPT is the leading ICT company in Vietnam and we want to support all the banking systems of these four countries in CLMV to enhance the improvement of technology and to provide new technology.
Is there anything would you like to add?
We at FPT consider Myanmar as our second homeland, so we want to bring our own business from Vietnam to Myanmar.And we hope that we can support the development of Myanmar in terms of the infrastructure, in terms of human resources and we want to bring our resources from overseas countries to Myanmar.