Major Japanese trading houses are expanding their operations in Myanmar ahead of the incoming government lead by Aung San Suu Kyi at the end of this month.
Mitsui & Co. and Marubeni Corp. both have launched projects to produce agricultural fertilizers locally, while Mitsubishi Corp., Itochu Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. are ramping up their automobile-related businesses.
The companies are betting democratization will foster in brisk growth in the Southeast Asian nation.
Earlier this month, Mitsui, in a joint venture with a major agricultural company in the country, set up Agri First Co., a fertilizer production and sales firm.
Meanwhile, Marubeni plans to begin fertilizer processing operations in April 2017 at a plant it is building with a local partner.
In auto-related sectors, Sumitomo last year started to offer repair and maintenance services for trucks manufactured by Hino Motors Ltd., while Itochu established a maintenance firm for Isuzu Motors Ltd. vehicles.
Mitsubishi also moved to expand its vehicle-related business, setting up a joint venture to import and sell vehicles and parts produced by Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
In Myanmar, farmers account for 60 percent of the country’s population, consuming some 1 million tons of fertilizer a year. The country’s fertilizer market is currently one-fifth the size of Vietnam or Thailand, but a rapid expansion is expected.
Furthermore, the used vehicle market has been growing since imports of finished vehicles were approved following the country’s shift to civilian rule in 2015.