Japan's Dentsu to open in Myanmar

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 08 2013 07:08 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2013 03:08 AM

TOKYO - Japanese public relations company Dentsu will open an office in Myanmar's commercial capital Yangon next week, in the latest push by a Japanese firm to break into the potentially lucrative new market.

The firm, the largest of its kind in Japan, said Thursday it would work with both foreign and local companies seeking to cash in on new opportunities in the country of 62 million people.

Dentsu said it was looking to the 27th Southeast Asian Games, which Myanmar is set to host in December, as a source of advertising contracts.

Myanmar has come rapidly in from the diplomatic cold since the end of military rule in 2011 and companies eager for expansion have moved quickly to set up operations there.

Japanese businesses in particular have been active in the country with strong backing from Tokyo, including the cancellation of 350 billion yen ($3.7 billion) of debt and numerous aid grants.

After years as a pariah, foreign investment is desperately needed in Myanmar to improve infrastructure and boost development.

Funds allocated by Japan will also help build a vast industrial park and port next to Yangon.

The 6,000 acre (2,400 hectare) Thilawa project should be running by 2015, according to Japan's Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industries.

Unlike its Western allies, Japan maintained trade ties and dialogue with Myanmar during years of junta rule, warning that taking a hard line could push it closer to China.