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Myanmar fintech company ONGO receives backing from National Bank of Canada; aims to boost country’s cashless transactions

The National Bank of Canada (NBC) has acquired a 22 per cent stake in Myanmar-based mobile payment platform ONGO. No details of the deal were disclosed. (more…)

Global trends, Hotnews, InspirAsia, Myanmar

April 24, 2017

415

Meet The App That’s Empowering The Women Of Myanmar To The Bank

By Casey Hynes for Forbes

Financial inclusion is a topic of growing importance in countries such as Myanmar, where advances in tech are rapidly changing the dynamics in how people access financial products. As I wrote in 2016, fintech companies are capitalizing on Myanmar’s rapid development and increasing smartphone and internet penetration by offering digital financial products.

Although many people in Myanmar are skeptical of traditional banking institutions, fintech startups hope to win their confidence through low-cost, user-friendly products. One such organization is Wave Money, a joint venture between Telenor, Yoma Bank and Myanmar First Investments. (Disclosure: I performed contract editorial work for Telenor Group in 2014 and 2015.)

In a new partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Wave Money is targeting women consumers specifically in an attempt to increase financial literacy and inclusion in Myanmar. The company is developing a financial gaming application that will be accessible via users’ mobile phones.

Boosting confidence 

The app’s content will be delivered through a gamified system that teaches consumers about savings, interest and insurance. Ultimately, the goal is to help women become confident enough to engage with formal banking systems and navigate financial products they may have shied away from in the past. Wave Money, UNCDF and Australia’s DFAT aim to reach 260,000 women, 30,000 of whom already use mobile money accounts.

“The partnership between Wave Money and UNCDF will be instrumental in identifying how we can most effectively serve those currently underserved and excluded,” said Brad Jones, Wave Money’s CEO, via email. “We believe that through this application, people in Myanmar will be able to improve their understanding of financial concepts, which will further enhance financial inclusion in Myanmar.”

Wave Money CEO Brad Jones poses in front of the company logo in Yangon in August 2016. (Photo credit: ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Less than 10% of women in Myanmar between the ages of 18 and 34 currently have bank accounts, and only 29% have access to formal financial services. In a press release announcing the partnership, the partnering parties attributed the low numbers to “the lack of information that reaches women, and poor guidance available to them on where and how to use financial services that meets their respective needs.”

A digital gateway

But with smartphone penetration growing rapidly in Myanmar, digital platforms offer a gateway for reaching greater numbers of women and provide them with the means to participate more fully in the economy. In 2016, the GSMA reported that 33% of women own mobile phones in Myanmar, and about 1.4 million use smartphones. According to Jones, Wave Money will use UNCDF resources and data in developing the gamified app to ensure that it meets the needs of the women it aims to reach.

The Wave Money-UNCDF-DFAT partnership stems from UNCDF’s SHIFT Challenge program. The Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) department emphasizes empowerment through access to financial services and specifically focuses on women in underserved markets. Wave Money submitted a proposal for its gamification platform to the Challenge, and will receive funding from SHIFT, DFAT and the UNCDF’s Expanding Financial Access (EFA) program, the latter being the primary sponsor.

The EFA’s goals for Myanmar include increasing the number of adults who use more than one financial product from 6 to 15% and boosting overall inclusion from 30 to 40% by 2020. The program also aims to reach 830,000 “low income beneficiaries,” such as small-scale farmers, young consumers, and women entrepreneurs.

Winning over skeptics

As the first company to receive a mobile financial services license from Myanmar’s Central Bank, Wave Money sees an opportunity to “enable and empower people with the freedom to manage their money the way they most prefer in an easy and reliable way,” according to Jones. The hope is that consistent, transparent products will win over consumers who are skeptical of financial systems.

“The main objective of our digital gamification on financial literacy is to increase the understanding and perceptions of formal financial services and increase their interest and trust,” Jones said. “In this way, we believe that this will help improve these relationships.”

First appeared at Forbes

Banks, Cashless, Fintech news, Myanmar

February 23, 2017

675

Myanmar’s CB Bank to double size of ATM network

By Finextra

Co-Operative Bank Limited (CB Bank) in Myanmar has awarded Diebold Nixdorf an extensive contract for systems, software and services to expand its self-service cash offerings beyond the country’s main commercial hub Yangon.  (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Myanmar, Security

January 20, 2017

729

Myanmar Expands Access to Financial Services with World Bank Support

By

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $100 million credit to support Myanmar in improving the access of families and small and medium-sized businesses to financial services. (more…)

Government activities, Myanmar, news

December 24, 2016

612

Myanmar’s Yangon Stock Exchange to Establish Blockchain-based Stock Exchange

By

Daiwa Securities Group, a Tokyo-based securities brokerage, will be working with Myanmar’s Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) to establish a Blockchain-based stock exchange by integrating Daiwa’s equity trading into the Yangon exchange platform. (more…)

Blockchain, Financial Markets / Trading, Fintech news, Japan, Myanmar

November 17, 2016

733

Fintech Holds The Key To Myanmar’s Future

By Casey Hynes for Forbes

As recently as 2013, CNN described Myanmar’s banking system as “outdated and debased, open for decades to abuse by the previous regime, and shunned by about 90 percent of the population.” (more…)

About, Fintech news, InspirAsia, Myanmar

November 1, 2016

2623

Golden Gate Ventures: the upcoming rise of M&A in ASEAN

By Liz Lee for DealstreetAsia Magazine,

Singapore-based early-stage venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures foresees the pace of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in Southeast Asia catapulting, as more institutional funds, protectionists economic policies and global funds look to expand their footprint in the region. (more…)

Analytics, Fintech news, Hong Kong, Indonesia, InspirAsia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam

March 1, 2016

2293

Unbanked Stories: Thai, Myanmar, Mexico, Bangladesh, and the Philippines

E27.CO: Philippines-based fin-tech startup LoanSolutions has raised an undisclosed round of funding from a group of international investors led by KK Fund, with participation from other venture capitalist funds and angel investors, including Kickstart Ventures and John Dang, CEO of Zipmatch. (more…)

InspirAsia, Myanmar, Philippines

July 6, 2015

1067

Myanmar Sees Surge In Telecom Investment

DEALSTREETASIA: Investment in telecoms has surged in Myanmar in the past year as operators begin to tap a rapidly expanding market, driving growth in the economy. (more…)

InspirAsia, Myanmar

June 20, 2015

1446

Singapore’s ConnectNPay And Polish Solution To Myanmar’s Financial Sector

TECHINASIA: Since Myanmar opened up its economy in 2010, after one of the most brutal dictatorships in Asia, capitalism has been on the rise. The country’s abundant natural resources, strategic location between Asia’s powers India and China, and its largely untapped market of 60 million people have caught the interest of foreign investors. (more…)

InspirAsia, Myanmar

May 27, 2015

1064

In Word-Of-outh Myanmar, Startups Must Enter ‘Trusted Circle’

E27.CO: “The majority of international brands available in Myanmar today are relatively new to the market, and as a result consumers are still familiarising themselves with these brands. They place a great deal of importance in the recommendations of those in their trusted circle of family and friends. For new brands looking to establish a foothold in the market, building awareness, trial and, ultimately, trust is critical to success.” (more…)

InspirAsia, Myanmar

May 7, 2015

1180

Singaporean Investments In Myanmar See Significant Increase

DEALSTREETASIA: The amount of FDI flowing into Myanmar from Singapore has seen a significant increase in recent years. Investment by Singapore organisations in Myanmar has risen 41.5 percent from 2012, hitting $311.4 million in 2013, with a focus on urban development, connectivity and finance, according to Lai Shu Ying, the Southeast Asia director of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore. (more…)

Fintech news, InspirAsia, Myanmar, Singapore

April 13, 2015