Cash may still be king in Myanmar, the most undeveloped of all Southeast Asian economies, but this week marks the launch of the country’s first e-commerce payments platform, a move experts believe will stimulate all aspects of the Myanmar economy, including travel.
Developed by the government-run Myanmar Payment Union, which authorises the issue and acceptance of all payment cards within the country, and Singaporean company 2C2P, the platform means that MPU card holders can for the first time buy both from domestic and international businesses.
“As a payment network, MPU is comparable to that of VISA and MasterCard globally, NETS in Singapore, JCB in Japan, and China UnionPay in the People’s Republic of China,” Aung Kyaw Moe, Group CEO of 2C2P, said.
“MPU cards can also be used by Myanmar citizens travelling abroad, boosting the outbound travel and tourism sector.”
Myanmar, which has a population of 53.2 million people, “is witnessing a period of explosive growth, fuelled by mobile and internet penetration,” according to Mr. Zaw Lin Htut, CEO of Myanmar Payment Union”.
“A 2012 survey conducted by the Asian Development Bank showed that mobile internet penetration was under one percent,” 2PC2P said in a press release.
“In 2014, Myanmar Survey Research forecast this number at above 20 percent in the capital city Yangon, driven by the burgeoning availability of smartphones, with foreign handsets under US$200 inundating the domestic market.
“Moreover, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the country strives to increase its mobile phone density to 80% in 2015-2016, a significant step up from the 10% penetration rate in 2012-2013.”