Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd opened a representative office in Myanmar yesterday, joining a long list of regional and international companies making inroads into a country undergoing widespread political and economic reforms.
ANZ’s chief executive officer for the Asia Pacific region Gilles Plante said the move – typically seen as an initial step in emerging markets before establishing a branch – reflects the expansion of the bank’s network in the region.
“ANZ’s representative office in Myanmar is the first point of contact for customers interested in doing business in Myanmar, and for businesses in Myanmar looking for opportunities in the 33 markets where ANZ operates across Asia-Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, America and the Middle East,” Plante said.
Since taking power two years ago, Myanmar President Thein Sein has enacted reforms that have eased sanctions and attracted companies such as Coca-Cola Co, Ford Motor Co, Unilever NV and MasterCard Inc.
Local and regional companies have also got in on the act. Acleda, the largest locally owned bank in Cambodia, started a Myanmar microfinance institution in September, while Japanese-owned Maruhan Bank also opened a representative office in July.
Plante said ANZ’s representative office positions the company as “clearly the best connected bank for customers across the Greater Mekong [region]”.