CHANGES IN the behaviour of people in Myanmar have driven Index Creative Village Plc to shift its focus from offline to online in a bid to expand its business in the neighbouring country.
Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, founder and group CEO of Index, said in an exclusive interview that the firm would focus on its new lines of business - digital marketing and communications, in Myanmar this year.
“Now everything is online, and you can get connected all the time. You cannot survive if you cannot create new things,” he said.
“Events will never die. But people who create events have to learn more to use digital media. That is why we push for the hybrid. We have to combine digital and events together and create a linkage between online and offline.”
He said it was a good opportunity to bring our experience and know-how to use in the market, and to serve the businesses that wanted to effectively use social media in Myanmar.
The firm has done some market researches for over one year before the launch of its full service activation model from offline to online. It has been doing business in Myanmar since 2011, when it formed a subsidiary to provide services in research consulting, event marketing and equipment supply, shop and store decoration, and trade fairs.
“We received positive feedback from our domestic customers and from foreign brands that want to do business in Myanmar. We are also able to satisfy market demand in communications and digital marketing as a creative leader in new innovation for the online social world,” he said.
“People always love to see new things all the time. It is a normal practice all over the world. That means if you want to ensure your business growth, you will have to create new things all the time.
“Our strength is that we never do the same things, and always try to improve our ideas. We adapt our business to be suitable with the market. Once we enter a new market, we try to localise many things.”
According to Kreingkrai, it is quite easy to reach the firm’s target in Myanmar because most of the people in Myanmar use only one social media platform, Facebook, unlike other countries where people use at least two or three platforms.
“For the digital marketing, more than 90 per cent of the people in Myanmar use the internet through their mobiles and almost everyone uses Facebook. Now marketing all over the world focus on digital social media. We have good experience in this area for 10 years among Asean countries,” he said.
In a bid to achieve its target, the firm has invested US$1 million in Myanmar, and expects to expand more as business grows. It enjoys around 10 to 20 per cent growth every year, he added. Driven by its expansion, the firm expects to hold an average of five big events in Myanmar every month. Additionally, it has planned to organise around six major events of its own annually.
Ninety per cent of Index’s clients in Myanmar are from the private sector including a number of multinational companies, while government agencies hold the remaining 10 per cent. Seventy per cent of the clients are foreign companies, he said.
Kreingkrai said the firm had decided to expand its business in Myanmar, aiming for long term growth.
“Myanmar is like a magic. Everything moves very fast, and that is why we will keep on investing here,” he said. “When we started our business here in 2011, everything was very difficult because at that time, there was no clear foreign investment law, while banking and infrastructure were not good enough. Now, since digitalisation makes everything easier, we can communicate every single minute. We can talk to each other through the applications. We can make things faster. Over the past four or five years, we could not do something like that,” he said, reminiscing the early days of doing business in Myanmar.
Kreingkrai said they would keep their eyes open to seize further opportunities in other lines of business.
The firm now has a team of 40 permanent staff in Yangon, more than 70 per cent of whom were trained in Bangkok for at least two or three months before they started their work in Yangon.
Kreingkrai said the firm’s headquarters in Bangkok had a very close relation with the team in Yangon and senior employees always take care of new staff.
“Yangon and Bangkok is only one hour by flight. We have many skilled staff to support our team in Yangon. When we have some special requirements from the clients, we can bring our experts here,” he said.
When asked about expansion of its workforce in Myanmar, he said, “We are ready for the long term. But we will wait until the market is ready.”