This is a profile of Myanmar that may be useful for those keen to live and work there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Official name: The Republic of the Union of Myanmar
- Land Area: 676,577.23 sq km
- Population (2018): 53.63 million
- Capital: Nay Pyi Taw
- Head of government: President Win Myint
- GDP (2018): 32,522,818.1 million Kyats
- GDP Per Capita (2018): Kyat 1,694,219 Kyats
- Major cities (2014 census): Yangon (7.355 million), Mandalay (6.14588 million), Bago (4.863455 million), Nay Pyi Taw (1.158368 million)
Myanmar is located in the western portion of mainland Southeast Asia and is bordered by China to the north and northeast, Laos to the east, Thailand to the southeast, the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal to the south and southwest, Bangladesh to the west, and India to the northwest. Its total length from north to south is about 1,275 miles (2,050 km), and its width at the widest part, across the centre of the country is approximately 580 miles (930 km) from east to west.
Building on successful political and economic transformation, Myanmar is emerging as a prosperous nation. The country possesses abundant natural resources, a strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, a young population, and a sizable market with wide-ranging investment opportunities. Myanmar’s long-term vision is to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth, with national reconciliation, equitable development, protection of natural resources, and job creation as overarching goals.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic growth in Myanmar was projected to be 6.3 percent in FY 2019-20 and 6.4 percent in FY 2020-21. Due to the effects of the pandemic, the economy is projected to grow by two percent in FY 20-21, with domestic economic activity gradually recovering. The medium-term growth outlook is positive, with growth estimated to recover to seven percent on average supported by new investments in construction activities in industrial and urban development projects; road transport and communication infrastructure development; power and energy; a gradual resurgence in manufacturing activities; and increased use of digital technology, which could boost productivity across a broad range of sectors.
Myanmar’s foreign trade reached over US$7.6 billion in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020-2021. From Oct 2020 to January 2021, the country earned over US$3.68 billion dollars from exports while its imports valued over US$3.92 billion. About 80 percent of the country’s trade with foreign countries is done through sea route and its border trade is conducted with neighbouring China, Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Myanmar’s main exports included agricultural products, animal products, marine products minerals, forest products, manufacturing goods and others, while importing included capital goods, intermediate goods and consumer goods.
Singapore is Myanmar’s largest foreign investor, with a cumulative investment of US$22.1 billion as of August 2019. The Bilateral Investment Treaty on the Promotion and Protection of Investments between Singapore and Myanmar was signed on 24 September 2019. It aimed to promote greater investment flows between the two countries by giving investors greater certainty and confidence.
In July 2019, Myanmar’s ancient capital of Bagan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bagan’s vast array of temples, stupas, monasteries and other religious artefacts reflects the religious devotion of an early Buddhist empire which was at its peak between the 11th and 13th centuries.
Tourist numbers have been on the rise in Myanmar in recent years. It welcomed 1.84 million visitors in the first five months of 2019, which was a better performance than its 2018 total of 3.55 million visitors. China (137 percent), South Korea (85 percent) and Japan (24 percent) recorded the biggest growth in terms of tourist arrival numbers in the first five months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
In October 2018, tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau were granted visa-free entry into Myanmar, while Indian and Chinese nationals were given visas-on-arrival in a move to draw more visitors from Asia. In October 2019, Myanmar eased visa requirements for citizens from six countries as part of a string of visa relaxation policies to boost tourism. Visitors from Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland could apply for visas on arrival in Myanmar.