Microsoft has officially entered the Myanmar market, forming a partnership with a local IT firm as it seeks to grow its presence in the Southeast Asian nation, which has just recently opened up its economy after years of isolation.
The Internet giant has appointed the largest software company in Myanmar, Myanmar Information Technology (MIT), as its first market development partner. MIT is being tasked to expand the Microsoft ecosystem in Myanmar, and will work with local businesses and the government to come up with information and communication technology (ICT) solutions aimed at driving growth in the country.
Jamie Harper, Microsoft’s General Manager of Southeast Asia, said in a statement that the company believes technology will be a “vital part” of Myanmar’s future growth, and that it is committed to the “long haul” in the country.
“We believe that only through working closely with the public and private sector, can technology be part of the national agenda and play its role in ensuring competitiveness and capacity building,” Harper said.
Microsoft made the announcement at the ongoing World Economic Forum on East Asia being held in Myanmar.
As Myanmar undergoes dramatic changes following political reforms after the 2010 elections, the economy is also starting to attract global investors keen to develop in an untapped market. Research firm International Data Corporation expects IT spend in Myanmar to reach $233.56 million by 2016, which would be a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent between 2011 and 2016.
In March, Google launched a local search domain in Myanmar and opened partial access to its Google Play store, right before Eric Schmidt visited the country and called upon Asian governments to adopt an open approach to the Internet. In April, Google introduced support for its search engine in Burmese, the major local language. Last year, German incubator Rocket Internet launched three services in Myanmar – for auto trading, e-commerce and jobs.
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