AS Dow Water & Process Solutions brings its international water treatment solutions to Myanmar, the firm plans to leverage its experience working with partners in Thailand over many years and apply it in the neighbouring country.
Alan Chan, the firm’s commercial director for Asia Pacific, said in an interview that their experience in Thailand could help accelerate business activities in Myanmar.
“These two countries represent a pretty interesting contrast. Thailand has been developing for some time. It has a lot of global companies and a high rate of foreign investment. Myanmar is going through growth and transformation and thus will benefit from sharing or leveraging of knowledge and experience,” he said.
“We do recognise that there are challenges relating to access to clean and safe drinking water in Myanmar. We are committed to help Myanmar address those challenges.”
According to Chan, Myanmar actually fits very well with the firm’s business strategy as it has strong market share in developed countries.
“In cities like Yangon, access to clean and safe drinking water is a key priority. Clearly, Yangon is key and we will always maintain a certain presence here. We will continue exploring the markets. It is not a matter where we will go but rather, where will be our clients are staying,” he said.
In 2015, the firm established its presence in Myanmar and opened its local office in January 2016. Chan seems satisfied with “very positive” feedback they have received.
“We start off with having the expertise coming to Myanmar to explore the market and find local partners. At the same time, we start having our local footprint, start to have an office building and hire locally. Depending on the size of the country, and by no means is Myanmar a small country, we might see the need to open a second office in another city, at some point,” he said.
Chan stressed the importance of building good relationships with local partners who know the market very well.
“In the past 12 months, we have spent a lot of time looking for and evaluating capable partners. Some are very good. That is the reason why we have managed to see a healthy year-on-year growth. Moving forward, we will continue to seek out partnerships,” he said.
According to the executive, the firm has been working closely with a couple of local partners to distribute its products for use in industrial and municipal water, industrial processes, pharmaceuticals, power, oil and gas, residential water and waste and water reuse. It recently showcased its latest range of advanced products at Myanmar Water 2017.
The firm currently focuses on three key segments: industrial, municipal and residential. By industry, it refers to a number of different sub-sectors: power, power plant, food and beverage.
“At the moment, we are finding our customers to be predominately from the industrial sector. As we continue to grow in Myanmar, we hope to cater to the wider needs of the population, from achieving high water and purification efficiency in industrial use to lowering wastewater generation for residential customers. I would say the possibilities are endless,” he said.
The firm plans to provide technical training to its local team and to continue investing in capacity building at multiple levels over the next 18 months.
Chan said the firm’s major challenge in Myanmar is how to pace growth.
“The growth is fast but still small scale for us. This will continue to increase for sure. As we continue to grow, we will start looking at more significant investments, including maybe a warehouse and other infrastructure, to better serve our customers,” he said.