Myanmar As Target for International Expansion Research Paper

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Global Merchandising

Most people in Myanmar shop locally. The country's population is predominantly rural, and people come to regional towns in order to shop for any goods that are not related to daily life (i.e. not food). However, there is an emerging retail culture in the larger cities. This goes along with the increasing wealthy in Myanmar. The real estate sector has benefitted more than most from the economic development the country has experienced in recent years, and this is transforming the retail landscape (VDB-Loi, 2017).. Malls are being developed in the country, in the major cities, and these are going to allow Myanmar to follow the merchandising patterns already seen in Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations that have gone through this stage of development in recent years. The pattern shift is notable, because it highlights central downtown shopping, but with a retail model that is better suited to international businesses. The predominant local merchandising model is ill-suited to international companies, but a model based around shopping malls in major cities will be familiar to any company that already has experience in Southeast Asia.

Drivers of Shopping Experiences

The mall experience is relatively new, and there are two driving factors for its ascendance. Part of the mall factor is really the "if you build it they will come" sort of logic, where developers are creating these experiences even before the market is ready, in order to position themselves and carve out their swath of the retail landscape.

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The first type of customer is the repat, a Burmese from Singapore or Australia typically, or maybe the US, who has experience in a Western-style shopping environment. Back home they are often entrepreneurs, and they are the vanguard of the emerging middle and upper-middle class that can afford to shop in this sort of environment. They are joined by a second group, the wealthy locals, who were raised in Myanmar but for one reason or another have found themselves in the upper class of a society at a time when wealth accumulation is accelerating. All told, these two groups are the early adopters of this new retail model.

The new retail landscape has also brought new players to the market. Civil life five or six years ago saw little shopping, an economy almost entirely controlled by the military junta, and in many areas there were things like curfews. Mom-and-pop shops that closed at dusk were the retail environment. So the changes that the country is seeing are quite astonishing, when put in that context. International companies – the first were cell phone companies but since then others have joined – have started to enter the market. The malls are the key to international companies entering the market, though many consumer goods companies are starting to explore distribution through the existing retail channels. Many other companies are using stores that they own locally as their means of entering the….....

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VDB-Loi (2017). Investing in the Myanmar real estate sector. VDB-Loi. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from

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