Doing Business in Myanmar | Where to Invest or Start a Business in Burma
Where to Invest or Start a Business in Burma
Only a short plane ride from Hong Kong or Singapore, you can leave the developed world and be transported back to the 1950s in Myanmar… which was at the time the rice bowl of Asia. Just a 3 hour flight and a few hundred dollars, and your perspective is altered forever. That’s the beauty of travel, and part of the beauty of South East Asia.
Every time you cross a border into a new country, you enter into a different society. There are new laws, new language and culture, the food and the people are slightly different. This takes time to adapt, especially if you have the eyes of an entrepreneur and investor who want to learn quickly where the problems and subsequent opportunity lie.
It makes you smarter, and travel is the ultimate learning experience. For instance, entering Burma for the first time last week was an eye-opening experience. What a land of both problems and opportunities. The Burmese leaders are very smart, and know what they are doing; they do not need money – they need expertise in specific areas. Doing business in Myanmar is becoming easier – check how to invest and start a company in Myanmar. In fact, I have a friend there who does just that. However, not everyone there is selling shovels to the miners – many are trying to mine themselves.
Where NOT to put your money.
In anything that competes with the government. My business partner told me of an interesting dinner whereby the Myanese spoke of a big oil company coming in, spending billions, and missing the oilfields by under a mile. If they had just “asked” then they would have kindly told them where to look.
However the problem is when you go into a new country, you CANNOT be arrogant to the local ways of doing things. It takes adaptation and flexibility. One must (in the words of Bruce Lee) be like water and adjust to the cultural norms.
At the conference I attended, it was the same story. Dumbass westerners thinking they know EVERYTHING who are clearly scared and going to lose their hat. They don’t have connections, they don’t have a local partner, and for some reason they think that they don’t need one.
Where you should put your money in Myanmar.
Anywhere there is a problem that needs to be solved, that isn’t restricted or regulated by the government. I’ve got several specific plans in mind… But the reality is: it is simultaneously both a better investment, but also harder than you think.
As investment opportunities dry up in the west (do you really think the NYSE has room to go up further at 15,000?) Banks offer record low rates (do you really think Bernake can keep interest rates at 0%?) it becomes obvious that a corporation, banking, or assets flag planted offshore is a prudent and intelligent practice. Keeping your money in the West is fighting a losing battle.
You could start literally ANY infrastructure business in Myanmar and find yourself doing quite well several years later. Returns of 100% ROI within 5 years would be considered on the low end of the spectrum when doing business in Myanmar. There is a need for ambulances, cars, apartments, hotels, restaurants, almost anything… but for doing business in Myanmar you need to put boots on the ground (at least initially) to do it right, and find a trusted local partner.
The times, they are a changin’
Only 50 years ago, it was almost impossible to diversify internationally, and the theory of doing so (sprung forth by the most successful investor of the time) was purely designed for the HNW investor. Nowadays there is an entire generation of young men and women seeking opportunities outside the borders of their home country. In the past, you had to live in the same country to invest or start a business. Nowadays, you can diversify without leaving home.
It isn’t well publicized by the mainstream media, but you don’t even need to travel in order to internationalize. You can open up a company and bank account in Belize for instance without even traveling there. Or, if you can get a gold backed debit card through an offshore bank without leaving the comfort of your living room.
Can you keep up?
With the aid of mobile application technology (have you used wechat and whatsapp?) – you can now have FREE international communication ANYWHERE at the press of a button – no strings attached – iPhone not included.
But in Myanmar, it costs $1000 to get a basic SIM card – the wifi moves at a painfully slow rate, and the technological infrastructure of the 21st century just isn’t there.
Commercial airlines have made worldwide travel an inexpensive and commonplace occurrence. To really experience the speed at which the world is throttling into the 21st century, you need to get out there and see the bustling metropolis of Alpha cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and the steadily-expanding emerging markets of Asia.
Like a rolling stone…
Regardless of whether you are ready to embrace a worldview or not – the world has already changed. We already live in an internationally connected world – one that is fragile, unpredictable, volatile and dangerous. And those who are the most connected, and most diversified across borders are the ones who will be able to survive and thrive inwhat is to come in the future. Those who have clean food, water, healthcare and physical assets will be safe. Those who supply others with clean food, water, healthcare and physical assets will make a fortune in the years to come.
The developing world has seen a hiccup in recent years with the financial crises. The Euro is a mess, and wealthy Europeans are sending their money by the billions to Asian financial hubs
to escape the dying euro for “safe-keeping”. Do you want to sit idly by and ignore these trends. Take action, don’t be the same.
Don’t have money to invest?
As the jobless and unemployment figures continue to rise (a figure that is dramatically flawed) it is perhaps outside the borders of your own country where you should seek to find new work. Right now, there are more Chinese learning English than there are English speakers in the United Kingdom. Why not get a job teaching English in China – or better yet – why not start a business teaching business English with your current job specialty.
While you might find your skillset commoditized in the western world, you might find yourself to be a unique and valued asset in the developing world.
What is Flag Theory?
Flag theory is a method of internationalization that allows one to legally decrease tax, evaluate different jurisdictions based on their merits, and experience the true freedom that comes from living a life without borders – or a controlling government presence.
If asset protection is about keeping all your eggs out of one basket, flag theory is about making sure you have multiple baskets spread out in different countries around the world.
The signs that things are changing are obvious, and the benefits of internationalization are tremendous.
Don’t get stuck in the Ring of Fire…
Flag Theory is a way to avoid being dragged down by unfair or unfortunate mishaps of your homeland. Thinking your home is safe just because it is what you are comfortable and used to is a foolish and unfortunate mentality.
Things are not always what they seem to be, not everything you see, hear or read is real! The future cannot be accurately predicted, except for this: Things will change, and your life and the world will not be the same as it is today a year from now. That is why it makes sense to keep learning skills, exploring new ideas, diversifying your self and your wealth, so that whatever happens, you can survive. This is the prudent and cautious methodology of internationalization called Flag Theory.
The first flag of flag theory is a citizenship (and passport) from a country which doesn’t tax on a worldwide basis. If you want to receive the real scoop on passports, where you can get one – and exactly how much you should pay – I encourage you to check out this book.
I get questions all the time from people who ask:
“where can I get a 2nd passport without having to travel there?”
My question is, would you really even want a passport from a place you have never been? Furthermore, it is more than just a travel document – a passport is a component of a citizenship which ensures the universal human right of freedom of movement.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13 of the Declaration states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
Looking for residency? Or a second passport?
- Thailand – A long term visa if you are over 50 years old is simple, easy and lasts for a year (with a need to leave every 90 days). After 4 years of this you can apply for residency.
- UAE – start a company here and capitalize it with the minimum amount, and you’ll instantly be rewarded with a residency (the equivalent of a green card)
- Philippines – Learn how to start an offshore headquarters in the Philippines and find out why it is more fun in the Philippines.
- Uruguay – A place where you can legally pay no taxes and become a citizen in as little as 3 years (if married to a person of any nationality) or 5 years if you are single.
- Paraguay – With some of the best farmland in South America, this landlocked country affords foreigners a bona-fide citizenship in as little as 3 years. It used to be that you can get residency the week you come into the country. Through the right channels, this might still be possible – but be careful with who you deal with.
If you do have money and just want to escape your homeland for a bit, why not take up residency in a foreign land?
If you are too scared to leave, no one can help…
All is not well in the western world. You either see it, or you don’t. The writing is on the wall. If you want to survive, best not to keep all your eggs in one basket.
- Get a gold backed debit card.
- Set up a residency or look for a 2nd passport option
- Set up a US LLC in Wyoming and receive privacy, simplicity, and inexpensive asset protection
- Set up an international company or trust and protect your assets offshore (just make sure you file the right forms come tax time)
Until next time, please question everything you hear, second guess your own assumptions and thoughts about the world, and don’t trust anyone.
Think for yourself. Are you really prepared? Or have you yet to begin?