LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Next up in Myanmar: Explosive growth in mobile financial services

The secret of success is how bad things are. And things are not very good with regard to banking and financial services in the country with the second lowest population density in Asia:

In Myanmar cash is king. Fewer than one in ten of its 53m people has a bank account. But an explosion in smartphone use means rudimentary financial offerings are appearing where even roads are rare. After the end of the state’s mobile-phone monopoly four years ago, mobile penetration jumped from 7% to 89% now. Billboards line Yangon touting the selfie-taking skills of phones made by Vivo and Oppo, two Chinese handset-makers. Teenagers blithely test them at street-corner noodle stalls. Foreign telecoms firms, notably Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo, have entered the market, bringing cash with them: in 2014 and 2015 telecommunications accounted for $2.8bn in foreign direct investment, almost a third of the total.

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