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KB Bank Myanmar to begin operations in December

South Korea’s largest housing finance bank, KB Bank, has announced that it will formally launch KB Bank Myanmar in December. KB Bank was one of the seven foreign banks to be awarded a license to operate in Myanmar by the Central Bank of Myanmar in April this year. With a license in place, it will bring in a large amount of foreign direct investment into Myanmar, KB Bank stated.

The bank plans to sell advanced financial products in the country, offer financial support to domestic businesses and SMEs, real estate and infrastructure finance, and other new instruments and services. Three of the Korea-based KB Financial Group subsidiaries now provide financial services in Myanmar, including KB Bank, KB Kookmin Card (KB Card) and KB Microfinance. The bank has already received a license to operate, the KB Card has been in Myanmar since 2017, and is awaiting final approval for its 2018 license application to operate as a non-banking financial institution in Myanmar.

The KB Card, once approved, will offer care hire purchase facilities to customers, besides instalment based loans for purchase of mobile phones and high-end home appliances. It plans to expand through a network of branches in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. KB Microfinance has been operating in Myanmar since 2017 through its 21 branches in various states and divisions in the country. It has been lending funds for homes and small businesses to the local people.

Source: Myanmar Times

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DHL Express raises investment in Asia as e-commerce expands

DHL Express will spend close to EUR 750 million to expand its global infrastructure and network over the next two years, the company said this month. Around EUR 60 million to expand its air network in Asia Pacific by introducing new direct flight routes connecting its logistics hubs in the region to Yangon and Vientiane in Laos. DHL Express said it expects shipment volumes in Asia Pacific to be 30percent-40pc larger than last year’s peak season, which typically starts around November and lasts until the Lunar New Year.

Ken Lee, CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific, said the investment are “crucial” as the company is anticipating an “usually strong peak season.” The expanded infrastructure and new flight routes across Asia Pacific will also position the company to benefit from a growing e-commerce market and cross- border trade in the longer run, he said. Since the start of 2020, DHL Express has experienced a 50 pc surge in e-commerce shipments in Asia Pacific (excluding China), the company said. DHL Express will invest EUR 25 million to build a new facility in Bangladesh that will combine its country office and service center into a 10,000 sqm site.

The new facility will bring about an approximate 35pc increase in shipment processing capacity, and is expected to be opened in 2022. Meanwhile, the company will triple its capacity in Malaysia, with a new EUR39.4 million facility enabling it to increase its processing capacity by more than 200pc in the region. This, too, is scheduled to be completed by 2022. At the same time, construction of a new gateway facility in Bangalore, India is underway, slated to be ready by 2021. The company will also build new facilities in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea countries and new airline networks will be expanded to Beijing and Yangon.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Manulife launches two life insurance plans to help families in Myanmar

Manulife Myanmar has launched two life insurance products designed to help families make better financial decisions and improve their financial security. Families in Myanmar can now choose Manulife Protector to safeguard their financial future and Manulife Education Life to save for a child’s education. Both plans also offer unique COVID-19 benefits. Manulife Protector is a comprehensive life insurance plan that is designed to protect the insured’s family in an unexpected and unfortunate event when the insured can no longer do so. Also, it is kind of long-term savings if the protection is not needed.

Customers can start a life insurance plan for K5,000,000 with flexible payment terms. The oldest age for life insurance is 55 years old for the 10-year plan and 45 years old for the 20-year plan. Manulife Education Life allows parents to save for their child’s future education, with insurance to take care of the child’s education needs in the unexpected and unfortunate event if they are not able to do so. It can start with a face amount of K5,000,000 and offers flexible premium payment terms, as well as the option to select Double Benefit for extra life insurance protection. Customers that purchase either plan from now until 31 December 2020 are automatically entitled to special COVID-19 benefits that cover themselves and immediate family members.

These provide a potential maximum one-time K600,000 total payouts if the life insured and/or their immediate family members (maximum four payments per family) are diagnosed with COVID-19; a further K600,000 to cover intensive care costs if the life insured is hospitalized in an ICU ward; and an extra death benefit of K6,000,000, if the life insured unfortunately passes away due to COVID-19.Manulife Protector and Manulife Education Life are now available. Customers can purchase the plans from Manulife agents. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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KBZ Bank partners Tranglo to facilitate inbound foreign remittance

Myanmar’s Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank and Malaysia-based cross-border payments provider Tranglo have formed a remittance partnership to facilitate inbound money transfers directly into the accounts of KBZ Bank customers. The service, which has been approved by the Central Bank of Myanmar, allows Myanmar citizens working in Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea to send money home more cheaply and efficiently without the need to go through traditional or informal means of remitting money, which can be expensive, troublesome and risky.

Beneficiaries will receive the money in real-time in their current, savings deposit or call deposit accounts with KBZ Bank and be able to withdraw the funds via ATM or access the money through KBZPay. Those who wish to remit money to Myanmar through Tranglo can do so at Tranglo’s counters in Malaysia or the branches of its partners such as GPL and MaxMoney in Malaysia, SlidesSG in Singapore, or GME in South Korea. The maximum amount for each remittance transaction to Myanmar is the equivalent of US$5000 in the local kyat.

With the KBZ Bank Partnership, Tranglo will extend its global network – which now includes countries such as China, Indonesia and Singapore – to include Myanmar. For Tranglo, Myanmar represents a significant market in an increasingly competitive remittance industry. The World Bank estimates that more than US$3 billion was formally remitted by Myanmar migrant workers in 2019, approximately 4.6 percent of Myanmar’s GDP. This does not include the funds that are informally remitted through brokers or hand-carried back home.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Supportive service system to benefit local entrepreneurs

Myantrade will set up a supportive service system for the local entrepreneurs, according to an officer from the organization. To set a milestone of the business support in Myanmar, the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization provided advanced trade information service and management technique pieces of training to some 40 government officials from Myantrade headquarters and regional trade centres and 15 Myanmar commercial trade attaches from foreign countries.

The two-day training that started from 22 to 24 September is part of the larger initiative aims to upgrade the availability and accuracy of businesses, market and trade information available to the local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which want to reach foreign markets. The training gave Myantrade’s trade information officers the practical skills on how to analyze trade and market information resources. Providing reliable and timely trade information will enable the officers to assist their small businesses better to make them competitive in the global markets using up to date market intelligence. So, the exporters can get information safely online during COVID-19 crisis.

Embracing these new tools and methodologies can improve our capacity to provide modern and effective information services to everyone interested in trading. Myantrade is the Trade Promotion Organization of Myanmar which is aimed at promoting the trade and export of Myanmar through the building of the capacities of the local companies to make effective competition in the regional and global markets. Moreover, Myantrade aims to tag the label of “Made in Myanmar” brand on Myanmar’s goods and services.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Household service providers in Myanmar among latest COVID-19 casualties

Providers of housekeeping and home maintenance services are among the latest casualties of the second wave of COVID-19 in Myanmar. Many have suspended their businesses in view of the spread of the virus in the past month. Demand for housemaids, cleaners, and other household service providers has collapsed and these businesses have also been suspended to protect their workers from becoming infected, a local startup providing household services.

Besides water pipe maintenance, AC and electrical servicing, all other services have been suspended. As our workers cannot work from home, our businesses will stop until the end of this year. Even if the disease is controlled and businesses in the industry restart, it will take six to seven months for maid and cleaning services to return to normal.

MyanAnts had resumed business as a usual in May, after the first wave of COVID-19 but is now closed again. Household services, which mainly include part-time housework and cleaning services became popular in 2017 and demand had reached a peak in early 2020, before the pandemic.

Source: Myanmar Times

MasterCard plans to open local branch office in Myanmar

MasterCard announced that they are planning to establish a local branch office in Myanmar and that they will appoint a country business development manager. MasterCard aims to support the advancement of Myanmar’s digital payments ecosystem and its efforts to build a futuristic and inclusive cashless society. The establishment of the local office also underscores MasterCard’s long-term commitment to advancing Myanmar’s national digital agenda and reflects the company’s continued confidence in the market. Myanmar’s GDP growth is expected to rebound to six per cent in 2021, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the Southeast Asian region.

The market has successfully leapfrogged several of the usual transition steps on its way to becoming a digital economy. The government of Myanmar has been actively leveraging these advances to lay the foundation for a new payments’ infrastructure designed to allow entrepreneurs and businesses to capitalize on  vision to enable sophisticated capabilities like real-time payments for its citizens and businesses, Myanmar is at a truly pivotal stage in its economic evolution.MasterCard has a long and established history in partnering with hundreds of nations around the world on growing and scaling their payments ecosystems. MasterCard’s ambition for Myanmar is no different – the organization is focused on bringing its global best practices, coupled with a deeply rooted local presence and understanding of the domestic environment, to bear, to help the country secure a digital future defined by efficiency, agility, and security.

As Myanmar continues its digital transformation, it is also necessary to empower its people with the skill sets and knowledge they need to participate actively in the digital economy. MasterCard will bring to Myanmar decades of experience in technology skilling that will enable the country to accelerate human capital development. Furthermore, as part of the organization’s commitment to growing the local talent pool, MasterCard is well on its way to assembling a local leadership team which will be integral for sustainable, domestically relevant, long-term success” he added. MasterCard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Insurer, bank tie up to provide bancassurance in Myanmar

Capital Taiyo Life Insurance and Myanmar Citizens Bank have announced that they will cooperate to provide life insurance products in Myanmar. Capital Taiyo Life and Myanmar Citizens Bank (MCB) signed announced in Friday that they had signed an agreement on June 29 to provide bancassurance products via MCB’s network of branches. The agreement brings about the sales, distribution, promotion and marketing of Capital Taiyo Life Insurance’s life insurance products to MCB’s customers.

Bancassurance is a business model in which banks and insurance companies work together to sell a wide variety of insurance products through the bank branches. Earlier this year, the Insurance Business Regulatory Board (IBRB) under the Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Industry issued a directive allowing banks and microfinance institutions to operate as agents selling insurance products. The MOU signed with Capital Taiyo Life Insurance will kick off a nine-month pilot project where Myanmar Citizens Bank will conduct sales of life insurance. The government’s directive allows banks to enter into partnership with two life insurance companies per bank, and Myanmar Citizens Bank selected Capital Taiyo Life Insurance as one of its partners.

Insurance companies in Myanmar can see bancassurance growing significantly and becoming the predominant sales channel in the future. Yangon Stock Exchange listed Myanmar Citizens Bank, established in 1992, is one of the first private commercial banks in the country and has nearly 50 branches covering 26 towns in the country. Capital Taiyo Life Insurance is joint venture between Capital Life Insurance, a domestic life insurance company established 2013, and Taiyo Life Insurance, one of the largest life insurance companies in Japan.

Source: Myanmar Times

New G Bank branch opens in Myawady border town

As new banking services expand in Myanmar’s economic sector, Glory Farmer Development Bank, or G Bank for short, opened a new branch office in Myawady Township, Kayin State, on 7 August. With the new branch in Ward 4, Bamar Su 8 in Myawady and its headquarters on Yuzana Road in Bayint Naung Warehouse, Yangon, G Bank offers standard banking services such as depositing or withdrawing cash, domestic and payment orders during its operating hours and is striving to extend its reach to other prominent cities across the nation.

G Bank is offering a maximum interest rate of 8.7% in a fixed deposit account with a minimum tenure of one year to commemorate the opening of its Myawady branch in addition to other souvenirs.G Bank aims to offer balanced, outstanding services to all its customers in line with its code of conduct and integrity while keeping astride with technological developments to ensure banking services are accessible to all people.

G Bank opened its first branch in Monywa, Sagaing Region, in the month of September in 2018 and bases its mission on developing the agricultural sector, which can be regarded as the lifeblood of the nation.G Bank’s objectives also include making banking services accessible to everyone through the use of technology while incorporating ingenuity, responsibility, accountability, ethics and rules and regulations issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar in its services.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Prudential Myanmar introduces first-of-its kind digital health and fitness module on AI-powered app Pulse

To promote healthy habits among the people of Myanmar, Prudential has launched its first fully digital product PRUTerm Digital. PRUTerm Digital is a one-year term-life insurance product that provides financial protection against unfortunate and unforeseen events such as death, disability, and additional benefits for hospitalization due to accidents. Available exclusively on Prudential’s artificial intelligence(AI)- powered app- Pulse, PRUTerm Digital is an affordable product at 25,000 Ks and provides standard insurance coverage of 2.5 million Ks for one year. In addition, the customers can start enjoying the “Healthy Habits” pilot module on Pulse, which is designed to help them purse and track fitness activities, and receive rewards of free, additional insurance coverage based on their progress.

Pulse is now available in Myanmar and downloadable for free on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Through Pulse, Prudential aims to make healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone in Myanmar. To provide a seamless and delightful experience to customers, Prudential uses the latest advancements in AI and machine learning to automatically capture key customer information fields from their NRCs, followed by instant underwriting along with instant issuance of the insurance policy. The purchasing experience will be amongst the simplest with just a few clicks and digital payment through the WavePay App. Pulse also helps users to “earn points” easily by doing at least 15 minutes of daily healthy habits such as walking and running. The points automatically lead to an increase in insurance coverage at no additional cost. There are also other exciting and exclusive benefits to be enjoyed if users “share” with friends and family.

“Healthy Habits” of PRUTerm Digital reaffirms Prudential’s commitment to helping Myanmar people and communities lead healthy lives.It aligns with the company’s brand spirit of “We DO Health” and “We DO Fitness”. Prudential is committed to bringing in the latest insurtech and healthtech advancements to Myanmar through its AI powered app Pulse, which has been downloaded more than 8 million times in Asia, helping individuals and families get the most out of their lives. Research has proven that carrying out a healthy activity for just 45 minutes every day can go a long way in transforming the health and well being of individuals across age groups. Technology can also play a significant role in quipping individuals with the tools and features to purse and track health and fitness activities of their choice.

Source: Myanmar Times