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Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014 Bridges the Gap between International Oil and Gas Support Service Firms and Myanmar's Booming Energy Market

Yangon, Myanmar, Sept 30, 2014 (ACN Newswire via COMTEX) -- Myanmar's energy sector heralds a new era of transformation, triggering a swelling demand for industry support services. Held from 15 - 17 October 2014, the first edition of Oil & Gas Myanmar will kick-start the entry of international support services into the local oil and gas industry. The exhibition will play host to a multitude of international companies looking to introduce and expand their operations, products and services in Myanmar.

"Providing international businesses with a gateway to enter Myanmar's oil and gas industry, we will begin to see an influx of foreign companies; building and growing a more robust value chain of support services. Having released its oil and gas resources to the international market, many international firms are looking for local agents and partners, as well as setting up operations in Myanmar," says Ms. Carol New, Senior Project Manager for Engineering Events, of organiser Singapore Exhibition Services.

Set to be a key driver in kick-starting the presence of international firms into the local market, the inaugural edition of Oil & Gas Myanmar will play host to 130 exhibitors from 22 countries/regions, all eager to play a part in uplifting the Myanmar oil and gas sector.

Representing local oil and gas companies, the Myanmar Oil and Gas Services Society (MOGSS) welcomes the staging of Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014. Mr. U Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, Chairman of MOGSS says, "The event not only creates access for international firms to enter Myanmar, but also for existing energy companies to engage and easily source for suppliers. The industry is certainly headed down a path of rapid growth and will need a healthy pool of support services and suppliers to thrive and prosper."

International companies moving into Myanmar

Yokogawa, the leading global provider in the industrial automation and control business is deepening its commitment in the country and is set to offer a greater range of solutions and services for Myanmar's oil and gas industry.

"Yokogawa has established our presence in Myanmar for more than 10 years and is committed to further establish the company as a long-term business partner in Myanmar's developments," says Mr. Sng Hee Meng, Executive Vice President of Yokogawa Engineering Asia Pte. Ltd. "Even as we see remarkable growth potential in Myanmar we know that the strength of our business is tied directly to the strength and sustainability of Myanmar's market."

Mr. Sng continues, "Yokogawa will set up a representative office in Yangon to provide technical expertise and engineering support to bring out the best of our customers' plants. Our certified service engineers will provide hands-on support and expertise, alongside our current appointed distributors, to organisations that are working to address the industry's urgent challenges for long-term development and growth of the industries. We will continue to build on our local capabilities to serve our customers better for a sustainable future."

LoneStar Triplefast a member of LoneStar Group, a global manufacturer and supplier of high performance fasteners, sealing and precision engineered components, is looking to develop business relationships with end users and EPCs operating in Myanmar. The company is also hoping Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014 will open doors to new potential distributors and clients while still demonstrating their high quality support and service to current clients with operations in Myanmar.

Mr. Andy Robinson, Director of LoneStar Triplefast says, "As an emerging market in Asia's thriving oil and gas sector, Myanmar is an exciting growth country. With huge estimated reserves and many of the international oil companies (IOCs) awarded blocks in the recent bidding round, it will be interesting to watch how things develop, and LoneStar Triplefast hopes to be part of that. Our high performance fasteners, sealing and precision engineering products are being used in some of the major projects in the Asia Pacific region, and we are ready to offer the same quality in Myanmar."

"At Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014, LoneStar Triplefast is looking to learn more about Myanmar's exploration and development future, and the business environment and culture specific to the country. In the long term, we see Myanmar as a key market in our growth plans for South East Asia," he adds.

Similarly, Pamarine, a leader in marine safety solutions headquartered in Singapore, providing safety, environmental and marine equipment and supplies is looking to expand their operations to Myanmar. Mr. Ho Gim Eng, Managing Director of Pamarine says, "The outlook for the offshore oil and gas industry in Myanmar is very positive, and with that arises an emerging maritime sector, and greater demand for maritime services and equipment. Pamarine is therefore looking to Myanmar as the next big market for us. Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014 is an ideal entry point to familiarise ourselves with Myanmar's business culture and explore potential business opportunities with the goal of securing local partners for future projects."

Exhibition at a glance: Show: Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014 The Oil & Gas Exploration, Production and Refining Exhibition Date: 15 - 17 October 2014, Wednesday to Friday Venue: Myanmar Convention Centre, Yangon Opening hours: 0900hrs - 1700hrs daily Admission: Business and trade professionals only Website: www.OGMyanmar.com

About Singapore Exhibition Services (SES)

Set up in 1976, Singapore Exhibition Services (SES) has established itself as one of the most innovative and respected exhibition and conference organisers in Asia. A pioneer in the Singapore exhibition industry, SES events have served as important platforms for companies aiming to forge new business contacts in Asia. With a portfolio of international tradeshows already serving the Communications, Engineering, Machinery and Lifestyle industries, SES continues to develop new events to meet market needs. SES events consistently attract a high level of overseas participation with foreign exhibitors accounting for almost 80% of the show floor. SES is a member of Allworld Exhibitions Alliance, a global network with over 50 offices worldwide. For more information, please visit www.sesallworld.com.

Source: Oil & Gas Myanmar

Contact:

Myanmar Nyein Nyein Aye Marketing Manager Information Matrix, on behalf of Singapore Exhibition Services Mobile: +95 9 430 39616 Office: +95 1 512887 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Singapore Patricia Yee PR Executive Singapore Exhibition Services Tel: +65 6233 6637 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Copyright (C) Japan Corporate News NetWork

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Dreams and dangers of Myanmar’s beauty pageants

Beauty pageants are thriving in Myanmar after being unbanned in 2011 as hundreds of hopefuls join for a chance at fame and fortune.

Sparkling in a red, sequined dress, Htet Htet Htun spins around the stage rehearsing a traditional Burmese dance that she hopes will make her stand out from 18 other young hopefuls competing in the first Miss Myanmar World pageant this month.

Hoping for a better life and dreaming of fame and fortune, young Myanmar women are racing at every opportunity to enter the growing list of beauty contests that opened up to them in 2012. But the rapid rise of an industry that splits opinion in many countries – with opponents accusing pageants of objectifying women – is exposing both the opportunities and pitfalls faced by modern Myanmar with stories of scandal and exploitation.

By the end of this year, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, will have competed in at least 10 international pageants, including Miss Universe Myanmar and Miss Asia Pacific World. About 130 applicants signed up in four days for the inaugural Miss Myanmar World contest on Sept 27.

Becoming a beauty queen: Htet Htet Htun, a Miss Myanmar World finalist, looks at a mirror before her rehearsal at a studio in Yangon. – Reuters

“If I win, I want to do charity work that would befit a beauty queen. I’d also like to become an actress and continue working in the entertainment industry,” says Htet Htet Htun, 22, outside a dimly-lit studio in the Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, after her rehearsal.

The popularity of beauty contests underscores how Myanmar is racing to catch up with the rest of the world after decades of near-isolation – and many contestants are finding themselves on a crash course in how to cope in such a competitive field.

May Myat Noe became the country’s first international beauty queen in May this year when she won the Miss Asia Pacific World title in Seoul, South Korea – only to be dethroned three months later in a vicious, public spat with contest organizers.

Beauty queen row

The South Korean organisers called her “rude and dishonest” and accused her of running off with the pageant crown when she left Seoul where she was to record songs with a K-pop girl band. At a packed press conference in September, May Myat Noe accused the pageant’s organisers in Myanmar of falsifying her age from 16 to 18 and the Korean organisers of putting pressure on her to have plastic surgery to enlarge her breasts to boost her stardom.

“(The Korean organisers) also told me there is only one way to find money for my album and to continue in the entertainment business (which is) to escort some business tycoons whenever they require my company,” she says.

The cutthroat nature of the pageant business may be new, but Chit Win, who is researching Myanmar’s political and societal transitions at the Australian National University, says beauty contests have existed in Myanmar for centuries. The concept of beautiful young women dubbed “kun taung kain” (holders of traditional betel nut containers) predates British colonisation in the 19th century, he says. But beauty pageants were banned from 1962 after General Ne Win staged a coup and launched a social crackdown.

As they re-enter the world stage of beauty pageants, women across Myanmar are seeking to emulate Western ideals. Sharr Htut Eaindra, the reigning Miss Universe Myanmar, who spent a year polishing her skills for the contest, admits the first thing she did to prepare was to lose weight.

The contests have also put the spotlight on continuing demographic divisions in Myanmar, a country of about 51 million people with over 100 ethnic groups still plagued by nationalism and ethnic conflicts. They have also attracted a large social media following among Myanmar’s fast-growing Internet users.

Moe Set Wine, of mixed Burmese-Chinese heritage, became the first woman in 50 years to represent Myanmar at the Miss Universe contest in 2013 – and found herself the victim of a campaign on social media calling for her removal. Burmese social media users questioned her ethnicity and used old photos of her at a Burmese Chinese pageant held in former capital Yangon.

Fast route to fame

Despite growing awareness that the beauty business can be cut-throat, the queue of women seeking a short cut to fame through the industry grows daily. A title can bring massive publicity, public adoration and offers to star in movies and commercials. Pictures of current and former beauty queens adorn billboards, magazines and movie posters in Yangon.

“After I was crowned, my followers on Facebook jumped to tens of thousands,” says model and TV presenter Gonyi Aye Kyaw, a bubbly, articulate 25-year-old who competed in about half a dozen pageants before becoming Miss Myanmar International 2013. Her account was hacked three days later – a confirmation of her newfound status among her fans.

Queens in waiting: Women train in posing for pictures at Star model agency in Yangon, Myanmar. – Reuters

Tin Moe Lwin, a pioneer of Myanmar’s fast-growing modeling industry, credits the country’s changing attitudes and openness for the rising popularity of pageants. Now in her 40s, is Tin is judging and training aspiring air-hostesses for a pageant-style TV talent contest that is currently filming. “Compared to when I started, there’s more interest in fashion, the girls are more confident and the society is more open,” she says, while sipping tea in the lobby of the five-star Sedona Hotel in Yangon.

Still, there are risks in an industry that is as-of-yet unregulated with frequent stories of disputes and exploitation fueled by chatter on social media. Industry observers say the public spats often stem from contractual disputes between the pageants’ Myanmar organisers and the winners. Most contracts stipulate that beauty queens must make commission payment to the organisers, usually between 20% to 30% of all earnings for up to three years.

John Lwin, a former model and founder of Star & Models International, calls the disputes “a fight over the rice bowl”. “Both sides need to understand that business transactions have to be mutually beneficial,” says Lwin, whose Yangon-based agency trains many of Myanmar’s current top models.

All the world's a stage: A woman trains as a model at Star model agency in Yangon. – Reuters

Despite the horror stories, many are undeterred, such as 19-year-old K Zin Po who is preparing for next year’s Miss Myanmar World, starting with learning how to walk and pose at Star & Models International. “I backed out of competing this year because I wasn’t confident in myself,” says K Zin Po, who won Kaya Ahla Mae – a contest for model physique – in high school. “The main thing is to get my body in shape and improve my talent (singing, dancing or acting),” says K.

Ei Phyu Aung, editor of Myanmar’s weekly entertainment journal Sunday, sees the opportunities and pitfalls from beauty pageants as part of the country’s growing pains. “It’s a consequence of Myanmar opening up,” she saiys. “It’s like dust coming in when you open the window. We can’t keep the window closed forever so we have to find a way to minimise the dust and maximise the sunlight.” – Reuters

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Myanmar embraces Internet for the masses

By Nan Tin Htwe –

An estimated 25 per cent of people are already online and the Myanmar Computer Federation expects around half of the population, over 25 million people, to be surfing the net in the next three years

From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation.
Myanmar web surfers were once paradigms of patience and ingenuity as they dodged and weaved through the former military regime’s communications blocks in decrepit backstreet Internet cafes.
But commuters in Myanmar’s biggest cities can now be seen tapping away on smartphones as an online awakening sweeps the country, fuelled by the loosening of junta-era restrictions and foreign telecoms firms unleashing a flood of affordable SIM cards.
Big brand names like Facebook, Google, Viber and Instagram have rapidly expanded their presence in the country, lured by the growing market — and web-savvy local entrepreneurs are also seizing the chance to create Internet ventures in Myanmar style.
“There are so many things I want to do — I think about it not as business but as a way to find solutions to problems I face,” said Ei Maung as he demonstrated his prototype traffic app in a car inching through the congested streets of the commercial hub Yangon.
“Yangon commuting is worse than bad. It’s terrible. You waste countless hours queuing in traffic every day,” he said.
His Cyantra: Crazy Yangon Traffic app went live in June and allows smartphone users to share traffic problems and view potential snarl-ups on their driving routes.
Internet access has already increased exponentially since the country began to throw off the shackles of military rule.
Just one per cent of the population was thought to be online three years ago, as the democratic transition began, but the loosening of web controls and greater access to affordable phone cards has opened the Internet up to millions.
On Saturday Norway’s Telenor launched SIM cards costing just 1,500 kyat ($1.5) in Mandalay — a far cry from the $3,000 a card could cost under military rule — ahead of a wider roll-out in Yangon and Naypyidaw.
The move comes after Qatari firm Ooredoo began selling its SIM cards at the same price last month, throwing open the mobile Internet floodgates.
An estimated 25 per cent of people are already online and the Myanmar Computer Federation expects around half of the population, over 25 million people, to be surfing the net in the next three years.
David Madden, whose Yangon-based Code for Change group seeks to promote and support budding techies, said that unlike in the West where web design began with a focus on computers and laptops, Myanmar Internet consumers will be primarily using cheap smartphones.
“People are going to be able to afford one thing and they are going to want it to do a lot,” said. “It’s the thing you want in your pocket, it’s the thing you want when you are sitting in a bus stuck in traffic.”
Social media giant Facebook has dominated the Myanmar web to such an extent that it is the first — sometimes only — port of call for web users. But Google’s Myanmar-language search engine has struggled to attract users because it uses a standardised font — unicode — whereas many Myanmar websites are written in a locally-produced zawgyi font, meaning they are unreadable on the international search engine.
A local firm Bindez, led by former Google employee Rahul Batra, is taking on the web Goliath as it tries to create a zawgyi-compatible search engine.
The booming tech scene has also given the country a chance to showcase local passions, from checking personalised horoscopes, to a game that allows armchair sportsmen to play virtual “Chinlone” — a beloved traditional cane ball game — with a quirky owl avatar.
And while connections often remain glacially slow, online entrepreneurs are now grappling with the dilemma that has tormented web-based firms the world over — how to turn clicks into cash.
Mobile money — using the credit bought to top-up mobile phones to make payments for other goods and services — helped by the flood of affordable SIMs now entering circulation, could help.
It is seen as a vital potential tool for the vast swathes of Myanmar’s largely unbanked and rural population to access anything from loans to retail payments.
One popular Myanmar comic, Putet, has already begun using this style of payment system — 495 kyats a month (50 US cents) is skimmed from users’ mobile phone charges, giving them unlimited access to hundreds of colourful cartoon strips.
“It is important to make money — we have to buy cartoons, pay our staff. Advertisements do not make enough money,” editor Aung Chit Khin said.
Readership of Putet’s paper version had plummeted from 10,000 to just 4,000 in the eight years before the app was launched, as it vied for attention with foreign comics, television and games.

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Tech sector sizzles as Internet revolution ignites in Myanmar

YANGON: From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favorite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation.

Myanmar web surfers were once paradigms of patience and ingenuity as they dodged and weaved through the former military regime’s communications blocks in decrepit backstreet Internet cafes.

But commuters in Myanmar’s biggest cities can now be seen tapping away on smartphones as an online awakening sweeps the country, fuelled by the loosening of junta-era restrictions and foreign telecoms firms unleashing a flood of affordable SIM cards.

Big brand names like Facebook, Google, Viber, and Instagram have rapidly expanded their presence in the country, lured by the growing market — and web-savvy local entrepreneurs are also seizing the chance to create Internet ventures in Myanmar style.

“There are so many things I want to do — I think about it not as business but as a way to find solutions to problems I face,” said Ei Maung as he demonstrated his prototype traffic app in a car inching through the congested streets of the commercial hub Yangon.

“Yangon commuting is worse than bad. It’s terrible. You waste countless hours queuing in traffic every day,” he told AFP.

His Cyantra: Crazy Yangon Traffic app went live in June and allows smartphone users to share traffic problems and view potential snarl-ups on their driving routes.

Internet access has already increased exponentially since the country began to throw off the shackles of military rule.

Just one percent of the population was thought to be online three years ago, as the democratic transition began, but the loosening of web controls and greater access to affordable phone cards has opened the Internet up to millions.

On Saturday Norway’s Telenor launched SIM cards costing just 1,500 kyat ($1.5) in Mandalay — a far cry from the $3,000 a card could cost under military rule — ahead of a wider roll-out in Yangon and Naypyidaw.

The move comes after Qatari firm Ooredoo began selling its SIM cards at the same price last month, throwing open the mobile Internet floodgates.

An estimated 25 percent of people are already online and the Myanmar Computer Federation expects around half of the population, over 25 million people, to be surfing the net in the next three years.

David Madden, whose Yangon-based Code for Change group seeks to promote and support budding techies, said that unlike in the West where web design began with a focus on computers and laptops, Myanmar Internet consumers will be primarily using cheap smartphones.

“People are going to be able to afford one thing and they are going to want it to do a lot,” he told AFP. “It’s the thing you want in your pocket, it’s the thing you want when you are sitting in a bus stuck in traffic.”

Social media giant Facebook has dominated the Myanmar web to such an extent that it is the first — sometimes only — port of call for web users.

But Google’s Myanmar-language search engine has struggled to attract users because it uses a standardized font — unicode — whereas many Myanmar websites are written in a locally-produced zawgyi font, meaning they are unreadable on the international search engine.

A local firm Bindez, led by former Google employee Rahul Batra, is taking on the web Goliath as it tries to create a zawgyi-compatible search engine.

The booming tech scene has also given the country a chance to showcase local passions, from checking personalized horoscopes, to a game that allows armchair sportsmen to play virtual “Chinlone” — a beloved traditional cane ball game — with a quirky owl avatar.

And while connections often remain glacially slow, online entrepreneurs are now grappling with the dilemma that has tormented web-based firms the world over — how to turn clicks into cash.

Mobile money — using the credit bought to top-up mobile phones to make payments for other goods and services — helped by the flood of affordable SIMs now entering circulation, could help.

It is seen as a vital potential tool for the vast swathes of Myanmar’s largely unbanked and rural population to access anything from loans to retail payments. -AFP

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Myanmar embraces on-line apps for masses

From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation.

Myanmar web surfers were once paradigms of patience and ingenuity as they dodged and weaved through the former military regime’s communications blocks in decrepit backstreet Internet cafes.

But commuters in Myanmar’s biggest cities can now be seen tapping away on smartphones as an online awakening sweeps the country, fuelled by the loosening of junta-era restrictions and foreign telecoms firms unleashing a flood of affordable SIM cards.

Big brand names like Facebook, Google, Viber and Instagram have rapidly expanded their presence in the country, lured by the growing market -- and web-savvy local entrepreneurs are also seizing the chance to create Internet ventures in Myanmar style.

“There are so many things I want to do -- I think about it not as business but as a way to find solutions to problems I face,” said Ei Maung as he demonstrated his prototype traffic app in a car inching through the congested streets of the commercial hub Yangon.

“Yangon commuting is worse than bad. It’s terrible. You waste countless hours queuing in traffic every day,” he told AFP.

His Cyantra: Crazy Yangon Traffic app went live in June and allows smartphone users to share traffic problems and view potential snarl-ups on their driving routes.

- Internet boom -

Internet access has already increased exponentially since the country began to throw off the shackles of military rule.

Just one percent of the population was thought to be online three years ago, as the democratic transition began, but the loosening of web controls and greater access to affordable phone cards has opened the Internet up to millions.

 

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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