Myanmar: a market in the making

Portrait of Dieter Billen
Yangon Office, Southeast Asia
Myanmar on its way forward

Epitomizing a modern day 'frontier market'

Myanmar is experiencing a unique moment in history. An extraordinary series of events, including the transition to a new and democratically elected government, has led to a massive and swift transformation in the formerly closed off country. The new political and economic openness means unseen opportunities in nearly every sector for those firms that have their finger on the pulse of fast moving developments in the emerging country and can act quickly. Myanmar's economy is rapidly re-integrating with global markets.

"Investors are attracted by Myanmar being one of the last frontier markets, with more than 50 million people, the government's commitment to liberalization and strategic location"
Portrait of Thomas Klotz

Thomas Klotz

Senior Partner
Singapore Office, Southeast Asia

The democratically elected government, which came to power in 2016, issued a 12 point economic guideline designed to liberalize markets, attract investment, ensure sustainability, increase employment and raise competition in Myanmar. The points touch upon a fairer tax system, infrastructure development, intellectual property legislation, increased investments in education and job training.

For a start, it pays to take the pulse of this change in a measured manner. As such, our comprehensive business confidence survey is an accurate indicator of current and forward looking business sentiment.

Myanmar - a wave of optimism

Our exclusive insights provide valuable guidance for businesses investing in Myanmar, combining the local and international perspectives of almost 200 senior-level executives. Their experiences as well as their expectations are truly telling. Our snapshot reveals the confidence that people well acquainted with Myanmar have about doing business in the country.

Nation building

Telecoms, banks – and beyond

For years, Roland Berger has had project teams firmly on the ground. For instance, Roland Berger has been supporting the Myanmar government in the development of one of the largest special economic zones in the country, including infrastructure such as a port, road, industrial estate, LNG terminal and power plants.

"Myanmar people have clearly leapfrogged many telecom technologies that are typically seen in growing markets."
Portrait of Damien Dujacquier

Damien Dujacquier

Senior Partner, Managing Partner Southeast Asia
Singapore Office, Southeast Asia

Take the telecom sector. We worked with Myanmar's government to liberalize the market and issue licenses to private players. The liberalization led to one of the fastest mobile subscriber growth rates ever recorded globally, showcasing the ability of Myanmar's economy to achieve leapfrog-style growth. In addition, the liberalization had a strong spillover effect, boosting overall business confidence in the country and spurring the development of an entire industry.

Take financial services. Roland Berger was involved in the liberalization of the banking sector, by advising the government on the tendering of licenses to foreign banks. With our in-depth study on the Myanmar banking industry to 2025, we are singularly placed to see what lies ahead in the banking sector, a key growth factor in the economic development of Myanmar over the next ten years.

Myanmar Banking Sector 2025

The nascent banking industry in Myanmar is expected to undergo intense transformations, where the sector is likely to create 120,000 more jobs by 2025. In our study we show that the sector's asset base is bound to expand eightfold from its current size in almost a decade, to USD 247 billion at 23% CAGR since 2015. By 2025, loans will have increased more than tenfold to USD 164 billion at 29% CAGR.

Innovation in banking and telecoms are merging into a new reality for customers. Latest developments in mobile money are being deployed here. However, while the outlook is very promising, there are clear gaps that both banks and the regulators must strive to close, such as financial inclusion. Almost 80% of the population is not in the banking system, which is the highest in the region.

Roland Berger experts in the press

Where opportunities abound


Myanmar Industrial Port’s Success Depends on Long-term Transformation

Short term actions and long-term visions for Myanmar's ports Link


For whom the road tolls: Funding highways in Myanmar

How can Myanmar’s massive road infrastructure requirements be financed? Link

Our expert Dieter Billen

River routes

Rejuvenating Myanmar’s river routes

Myanmar was once a great trading nation, with its rivers playing a critical role in its economic development. The rejuvenation of its waterways will play a major part in helping it relive its glory days. Link


Electrifying Myanmar’s power grids

Power to the people! Link

Our expert: Dieter Billen


Fully Harnessing Myanmar’s Tourism Potential

Whilst Myanmar's tourism industry is the smallest in size regionally, the anticipated growth rate at 8.5 percent (2016-25) is the fastest. Link

Our expert John Low

The larger context

In the middle of a growth cluster

Southeast Asia with its strongly growing economies such as Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia has become an even more important growth cluster. The region will continue to be a magnet for commercial activity, given its growing population and above world-average GDP growth. In our economic outlook for Southeast Asia we highlight this conclusion and illustrate that the region is set to grow through intra-regional investments.

There is a very unique Japanese perspective on business developments in Myanmar. We have examined feasible strategies for advancing into Myanmar.

The first comprehensive Myanmar HR study investigated how business can increase their overall talent pool by analyzing responses of more than 750 participants including HR managers, employees and job-seekers.

Since Myanmar has hardly participated in the industrialization of the past decades, there is vast potential for the country to leapfrog older technologies and shift immediately towards an era of automation and Industry 4.0.