Myanmar: A Land of Promise Amidst Challenges

This post is part of a series detailing market specifics of ASEAN nations. Click here to see the rest of the series.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a nation abundant in natural resources, rich history, and cultural heritage. However, its journey towards economic progress and democracy has been marked by decades of military rule and, more recently, significant political disruptions.

While the current political situation poses notable challenges, Myanmar’s strategic location between India and China and its wealth of untapped potential make it a place of interest for forward-looking investors.

Vital Statistics

  • Population: Approx. 54 million (as of 2021)
  • GDP: Approx. $76 billion USD (as of 2021)
  • GDP Growth Rate: -10% (Projected for 2023, considering political upheavals)
  • Major Cities:
    • Yangon (Rangoon): Approximately 5.2 million (as of 2021)
    • Mandalay: Approximately 1.2 million (as of 2021)
    • Naypyidaw: Approximately 1 million (as of 2021)
  • Median Age: 28.6 years
  • Major Industries: Agriculture, Textiles, Oil and Gas, Teak, Gemstones, Tourism
  • Primary Language: Burmese
  • Currency: Myanmar Kyat (MMK)

Economic Overview

Before the recent political disruptions, Myanmar was on a trajectory of growth, bolstered by international investments and the lifting of international sanctions.

The nation’s vast untapped natural resources and burgeoning young population hinted at potential growth sectors like tech, retail, and infrastructure.

Business Culture and Etiquette

Myanmar’s business culture is a blend of its historical traditions and modern influences. Building trust and cultivating relationships play a crucial role in business negotiations. It’s also essential to understand and respect the local customs, traditions, and religious sentiments.


  • Natural Resources: Myanmar is rich in minerals, teak, and gemstones, and has significant oil and gas reserves.
  • Young Population: A predominantly young demographic indicates a potential future workforce and consumer base.
  • Strategic Location: Positioned between two economic giants, India and China, Myanmar offers strategic trade routes and connectivity.


  • Political Disruptions: The current political unrest poses significant challenges to business continuity, safety, and investment.
  • Underdeveloped Infrastructure: Infrastructure challenges persist in transportation, electricity, and telecommunications.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: Navigating business regulations can be challenging, especially with changing political landscapes.

Future Outlook:

Despite the political challenges, Myanmar’s underlying potential remains. Should the country stabilize and undergo reforms, it could reclaim its trajectory of economic growth and development.

Its rich natural resources, strategic geographic position, and the inherent potential of its young populace mark it as a nation of interest for the long term.

In conclusion, while Myanmar presents distinct challenges at present, its future promises opportunities for those willing to navigate its complexities.

Understanding the nuances of this evolving nation will be key for businesses aiming to thrive in its landscape.

If you’re considering the possibilities that Myanmar might hold or seeking insights into navigating its unique challenges, contact Aseanz today.