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Myanmar’s Muse business zone aims to attract the Chinese and create market for local products

Myanmar’s Muse business zone aims to attract the Chinese  and create market for local products

  • By Myanmar Now
  •  
  •  22/01/2016

A Shan ethnic drummer leads a procession around the Muse Central Business District. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)

MUSE, (MYANMAR NOW)— Amid lively music played by a troupe of Shan drummers, the grandiose opening ceremony of a business zone in Muse, on Myanmar’s border with China, took place on the morning of Jan. 19.
Located on nearly 300 acres of land on the banks of the Shweli River and connected by bridge to China’s Yunnan province, the “Central Business District” consists of a three-storey walk-in market, hundreds of shops and a centre for jade trading.
It is a joint project between the Shan State government and New Star Light company, a private construction company based in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city.
New Star Light company officials say the project is aimed at creating a market for local products and attracting Chinese customers.
“At present, all our resources, such as jade stones and timber, go to China. The market and the technology to process these resources are also in China,” said Maung Sein, an official with the New Star Light company, in an interview with Myanmar Now.
“This business district in Muse wants to change that. We want to sell our products here and create a market on the Myanmar side as well.
However, most of the products such as cars, pharmaceuticals and telecommunication accessories that were on display at the shops in the Muse business district were made in China.
This reinforces suspicion in local business circles that there are some Chinese investors behind the project. The price of retail space is so high that only Chinese businessmen can buy them and run the stores in the new business zone, said local traders.
A shop of 33,00 square feet sells for about $200,000. 
“We can’t really afford to pay that price,” said Kyaw Swar Tun, a Myanmar businessman invited to temporarily exhibit his cosmetic products imported from Vietnam and Thailand during the opening ceremony.
Maung Sein of New Star Light company denied there was Chinese involvement in the project and said Chinese businessmen cannot buy up the shops since Myanmar’s foreign investment law restricts foreign ownership of properties.

The Muse Central Business District is touted by investors as the first market on China-Myanmar border where Myanmar businessmen can sell their products to both Chinese and Myanmar buyers. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)


Officials of New Star Light Construction company which is behind the Muse Central Business District stand with Chinese businessmen for a photo-op in the opening ceremony. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)

A Chinese-made automobile on display in the Muse Business District. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)


A Chinese advertising company occupies one of the shops in the Muse Business District. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)


 Chinese businessmen having a chat in the Muse Central Business District. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)


A Shan ethnic drummer leads a procession around the Muse Central Business District. (Photo: Swe Win/Myanmar Now)