Analysis of a business story

A Land Eager to Look Rich: Luxury Brands Edge Into Myanmar

It is a business story from New York Times.

At first, I was attracted by the topic, since in my mind, Myanmar is an undeveloped country in the southeast of Asia which has nothing to do with luxury brands. So before I read it, I have some questions: What kind of luxury brands edge into Myanmar? Why they want to open markets in Myanmar? What’s the reaction of residents?

Of course, this article answers beyond my questions. It gives solid data about how the economy of Myanmar has been growing, such as “by 2015, the country’s economy was growing by 7 percent annually, up from 5.6 percent in 2011”, which might be one reason of luxury brand’s eagerness to come. It also use data to show the large demand in Myanmar, such as “By 2014, although about 3.7 million of Myanmar’s 4.4 million registered vehicles were motorcycles, the number of registered passenger vehicles had risen to 389,441, from 267,561 in 2011, according to a study by the Singapore-based consulting firm Solidiance.

There are many people in this story. For example, U Thiri Thein Than, an automotive engineer from Yangon who also has a home in Tokyo; Nicholas Rudaz, director of Franck Muller; Antony Picon, Myanmar managing director at the commercial real estate company Colliers, and Gregory Miller, managing partner at Myanmar Capital Partners, a Bangkok-based financial services company with staff in Yangon. The article shows different opinions of them. A local company manager doesn’t expect luxury brands to enter Myanmar, while a businessman from Thailand says positively about the luxury retail growth in Myanmar. However, I think the reporter might go deeper about why they have these kinds of opinions.

When it comes to the paragraph “Okkar, a Myanmar national who uses just one name, is a Ford brand manager at a Yangon car dealership selling Ford, Jaguar and Range Rover models. He said that government officials were often among buyers of luxury sport utility vehicles, and that many luxury car buyers here had large fleets.” I am not sure whether it means or hints the government is one to promote the growth of luxury retails? If so, I prefer the reporter to illustrate more clearly. At the end, Ivan Pun, a Myanmar entrepreneur’s conclusion and set-up show how local retails change to follow or fuse the fashion of western world and try to catch young people’s eyes. It might also be one impact of opening market. It is quite interesting.

Besides, it has global view. It mentions Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, which connects it to larger parts of southeast Asia. It also points out differences and similarities of their economy development. Though Myanmar is a small country, it can influence neighboring countries as well as be influenced by them. This story also refers to international companies such as the Swiss watch company Franck Muller, Ford brand, a luxury Peninsula Hotel based in Singapore and so on.

Except for the story, I would like to share two “technical” things I learned from this article. One is in the paragraph “Many residents still patronize ramshackle ‘wet’ markets — which sell fresh meats and produce — and sidewalk tea shops, where a full meal costs far less than a Starbucks latte.”, the reporter compares the residents’ consumption level with a Starbucks latte which is quite familiar to most westerners, making the story more accessible. Another is that when quoting, the reporter wrote specifically where and in what cases the sources said. For example, “Nicholas Rudaz, director of Franck Muller, said in a telephone interview from the brand’s headquarters in Switzerland.”, “Cyrus Pun, the company’s head of real estate, said in an email”, and “she said during a tour of the high-ceilinged lobby, speaking over the drone of buzz saws and the clank of hammers.”, which makes the quotations more reliable and plentiful.

This article shows what happened(background), what happens and what might happen in the future, but I think it might focus more on what we can see on the table rather than things we can’t see under the table. I mean it might explore deeper into the reasons behind the phenomenon that Luxury Brands Edge Into Myanmar. It mentions something possibly be reasons such as the rich resources, the rapid development of economy, the support of Myanmar government, but what’s the major reason and How do they have impact on this trend?


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