Quarterly Business Magazine

Office Space in Yangon

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With the rapid increase in foreign investors and local companies expanding operations, office space is Yangon is in short supply. There are simply too few hotels and office buildings in the commercial capital to cope with the sudden influx of foreign businesses. Naturally, with demand outstripping supply, room rental rates have skyrocketed. The majority of Yangon’s famous hotels such as Sedona, Traders and Park Royal are no longer renting out rooms for offices. The constant climb in rental rates and tourist arrivals make it much more profitable to rent rooms to guests instead.

Hotels that once charged US$60 a night are now charging US$250 or more.  Real estate projects both small and large are booming across Yangon. Demand condominiums and commercial complexes continue to grow. Rental rates in Sakura Tower, one of the few international standard office buildings located in the downtown financial district, almost quadrupled within a span of 16 months from US$25 to US$90 per square metre. At the current rate, the smallest office space available at Sakura – 175 square meters – will cost over US$5,000 a month.
A similar scenario is playing out at the Centrepoint Towers, an impressive commercial complex overlooking the golden dome of the Sule Pagoda, a prime area within distance of the colonial quarter with its newly renovated Edwardian buildings and architectural conservation zones. Office space that was only US$13 per square metre a year ago now starts from US$85.
Foreigners are not allowed to own property in Myanmar. Instead, they are only allowed to rent apartments and houses from Myanmar citizens. A way to circumvent the legal limitation regarding property ownership would be to sign for long-term leasehold-type purchases with local partners. A condominium law draft was recently introduced in Parliament, to ensure higher standards in buildings, construction, and real estate. The law is much anticipated as it will likely open the door for foreigners to buy apartments, changing property ownership regulations and the real estate market along with it.
Myanmar has a unique underdeveloped property market with attractive investment opportunities compared with far more congested markets elsewhere in Asia. Due to decades of lagging and underinvestment, the property market is significantly lacking in supply across all segments. The premium segment is in high demand and is boosting the rental market but availability is limited. Most local and international companies rent or purchase a house or a villa unit and convert it into an office space, for more privacy, easy accessibility and convenient parking. Centrally located homes that recently rented for US$600 per month have now been converted into offices with rent charges as high as US$ 6000 per month. 


Connecting to the Internet 

Hardly a work place exists today that does not have internet services available. The following is a brief guideline to setting up an internet network for a work place in Yangon.
Significant improvements have been made for Internet users since Myanmar came online in the year 2000. Restrictions and censorship on Internet access has been removed and internet surfers now have freedom in browsing. 42 cities across the country have access to the internet. Reliable statistics for the usage of Internet is difficult to obtain but according to Myanmar Post and Telecommunication's statistics as of August 2011, the country had over 400,000 internet users (0.8% of the population) with the vast majority of the users hailing from the two largest commercial cities, Yangon and Mandalay. 
Most of the users connect to the internet from cyber cafes, but a growing number is now gaining easier access with the availability of 3G and Mobile internet.
There are several private companies such as Yatanarpon Teleport, Redlink, and Digicom, offering diversified internet services for individuals and corporations. A typical package for a medium sized work place, for example, of 2mbps speed with 12GB capacity would cost around US$600 to start up. Charges are payable in both Myanmar and U.S. currency and comprise of a one-time installation fee, equipment fee, annual fee, and monthly usage fee depending on the type of subscription to the following services. 


Types of Internet Services

- Access Prepaid Dial up Kits
- ADSL Broadband   
- McWill
- Broadband WiMax
- Mobile WiMax
- Fixed WiMax
- Fiber to the Home (FTTx)


Registering for Internet Services

The following are the standard documents required for most internet service subscriptions.

Individual Applications

- Copy of Passport/ National Registration Card
- Copy of Household Member Card
- 2 Passport size photos

Corporate Applications

- Copy of Passport/ National Registration Card
- Copy of Household Member Card
- 2 Passport size photos of the applicant
- Copy of Company Registration Card
- Copy of Form VI, Form XXVI and name of applicant
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