Press release

In the realm of the sleeping tiger – Zenner sets up a joint venture in Myanmar

Zenner International is one of the first German companies to set up its own subsidiary in Myanmar. Once the richest country in Southeast Asia, this is a future ‘tiger economy' and one of the most promising future markets in the region.

ZENNER International GMBH & Co. KG from Saarbrücken recently became one of the first German companies to maintain operations in Myanmar. Spring 2015 saw Zenner and its Myanmar-based partner set up a joint venture entitled Zenner Han Sein Thant Co. LTD.

This newly established company will primarily be working on water supply and sanitation infrastructure projects. The challenges faced by Myanmar customers were able to be defined via numerous intensive discussions and workshops. In addition to selling water meters and the associated systems technology, there will also be a focus on planning and consultation on topics such as ‘non-revenue water’. Reducing water loss is one of the greatest challenges of Myanmar’s water management.

Saarland meter manufacturer Zenner sees huge potential for the future in Myanmar, and considers now to be the ideal point to invest in the country. ‘We have been watching developments in Myanmar for some time, and have been impressed by the positive political and economic change’, reports Alexander Lehmann, CEO of Zenner International GmbH & Co. KG. ‘In the context of our experiences in the Asian region, we are sure that we can successfully position ourselves here as a German company’, Lehmann continues.

With subsidiaries and production sites in China, Vietnam and India, Zenner has been active in the region for more than 20 years and knows the Asian market extremely well.

The foundations for the establishment of this new joint venture in Myanmar have been laid over the past two years. As early as February 2014, when the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce officially opened in Yangon, Christian Braun (Zenner’s responsible Export Manager) and Thant Zin (Managing Director of Han Sein Thant) were promising a cooperation as part of the attached Myanmar German Business Forum. ‘The response to our presentation was very positive’, reported Christian Braun and Thant Zin, adding: ‘we are sure that we can provide important information to other companies along the way’.

On the occasion of the Delegation’s opening, President of Germany Joachim Gauck also appeared confident about developments in Myanmar. In his speech, he explained the expectations of Germany companies investing in Myanmar: ‘legal security, a stable energy supply, good infrastructure’. He also added that it would be important for partners in Myanmar ‘to perceptibly improve the lives of as many citizens as possible. We Germans wish to make a contribution to this.’

After many years of preparation, the new company Zenner Han Sein Thant Co. LTD has been successfully founded. As numerous laws are still in abeyance in Myanmar, both partners had to overcome statutory and bureaucratic hurdles. They received energetic support from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), which helps foreign investors wishing to set up in Myanmar. These efforts have already paid off for the newly founded Zenner Han Sein Thant Co. LTD: among other things, one of the country’s largest water suppliers was gained as a customer in the form of Yangon Water Supply. Many other projects are expected to follow in the coming years.

During his speech on the occasion of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce's opening, the President of Germany also closed with the following words: ‘we are now one of the first Europeans with economic representation in Myanmar […].’ In some ways this is also a reference to Zenner: although Zenner is not the first European company in Myanmar, it is still one of the early pioneers.

About Myanmar

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was once the richest country in Southeast Asia and was for centuries known as ‘the golden land’. However, 50 years of military dictatorship from the 1960s left a lasting impact. Myanmar – one of the 25 most densely populated countries in the world with around 55 million inhabitants – was politically isolated for decades as a result of its political situation, with its society and economy suffering under international sanctions. Whilst so-called Asian ‘tiger economies’ such as South Korea or Singapore have long since found their place in the global economy, globalisation passed Myanmar by almost unnoticed.

The decades of military rule in Myanmar have only gradually come to an end over the past five years, paving the way for democratic reform and economic recovery. New companies are being founded every day, with the long-neglected infrastructure enjoying particular investment.

The energy and construction sectors are booming and the domestic economy is growing steadily, and with it demand for high-quality industrial products from abroad.

Many experts view Myanmar as one of Asia’s most promising future markets for European companies. Germany is currently Myanmar’s largest European trading partner with exports amounting to 170 million Euros (2013).