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Instant noodle giant Nissin Foods launches products in Myanmar

Nna/kyodo

Japan’s leading instant noodle-maker Nissin Foods Holdings Co. has entered the Myanmar market, seeking to cash in on swelling consumption in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Sar Taw Kal Nissin Co., its local manufacturing joint venture with Lluvia Ltd., Myanmar’s leading flour milling firm, last week released two types of packaged local-style chicken flavor noodles under the Wah-Lah brand, which translates to “Have you eaten?” in the local language.

The joint venture, established in May 2017, will soon add two more flavors — spicy Korean kimchi and spicy sesame — with all four types priced at 200 to 300 kyat (13 U.S. cents to 20 U.S. cents) per package.

It plans to increase the variety of tastes to about 10 in the future, general manager Hiroyuki Arai said at a launch ceremony in Yangon, the country’s commercial capital.

Sales of instant noodles in Myanmar totaled 590 million packages last year, up nearly twofold from 2013 and ranking 17th in the world, equivalent to a fourth of per capita demand in Japan, according to the World Instant Noodles Association’s estimates.

The market is currently dominated by local brands and those from neighboring Thailand.

Arai said that the local unit is aiming to sell 100 million packages annually by 2020.

He sees huge potential in the Southeast Asian country, saying it “already has traditional noodle menus like mohingar (rice noodle with fish soup) and coconut noodle.”

The joint venture, in which Lluvia has a majority stake, uses the local partner’s 30 sales bases nationwide to penetrate the market. Lluvia is jointly owned by Capital Diamond Star Group, a local conglomerate, and trading house Mitsubishi Corp. Rival Acecook Co. started local production in July last year at a plant in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone on the outskirts of Yangon.

In Southeast Asia, Nissin, the company that invented instant noodles, has advanced into Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.