Tag Archives | Myanmar

Recent Stories Round-Up: Telcos in Myanmar; InMobi, Snapdeal, Facebook in India

It’s been a busy week or so.

Here are links to some recent stories I’ve worked on with colleagues, both here in Singapore and in India.

Myanmar Tests Foreign Telecom Entrants (March 10):

YANGON, Myanmar—When Myanmar’s first foreign telecommunications companies, Qatar’s Ooredoo QSC and Norway’s Telenor ASA, arrived last year, customers lined up for blocks to buy their inexpensive services, exhausting the supply of SIM cards within weeks and cheering their executives.

Six months later, state-owned Myanmar Posts & Telecommunications, which had for decades monopolized the market despite its generally outdated services, has added more new customers than its challengers combined.

The scenario underscores state-owned companies’ dominance here and the conflicting forces that foreign companies face as the military government tries to modernize Myanmar’s long-isolated economy and lure fresh investment while also moving to protect its interests. As Myanmar prepares to open up other sectors, including energy, real estate, tourism and manufacturing, the telecom industry is being watched as a test case.

Google in Early Talks to Buy Indian Mobile Ad Firm InMobi (March 11):

BANGALORE, India—Google Inc. is in early stages of negotiations to buy Indian mobile ad firm InMobi, a person familiar with the matter said, as the U.S. company looks to strengthen its presence in the mobile advertising space.

“Google has expressed interest and has reached out” but there is no certainty on whether the Indian company would sell itself, this person said.

Google declined to comment.

The Economic Times first reported the news.

InMobi, one of the biggest ad networks in India, offers advertising services on mobile websites based on the profiles and behaviors of users of those sites. The company has offices across 17 countries with more than 900 employees.

Snapdeal Considers Acquisitions in India, CEO Says (March 17):

NEW DELHI—Online marketplace Snapdeal.com is considering acquiring firms in India as it seeks to expand its presence in the country’s fast-growing e-commerce market, the company’s chief executive said.

Kunal Bahl said in an interview Monday that possible acquisitions would be focused on allowing Snapdeal to expand from its current mass-retail model into more specialized niches such as luxury goods.

“We’ve got to make sure that we are giving consumers very specialized experiences” in terms of the types of products they buy online, Mr. Bahl said. He cited as an example Snapdeal’s acquisition last month of Exclusively.com, an Indian luxury fashion website. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

India Is Requesting More Data About Facebook Users (March 17):

Indian authorities are increasingly asking for data on Facebook users, and Facebook is increasingly blocking content in the country.

That’s according to the U.S. social media company’s most recent report on government requests, which showed that from July to December 2014, authorities made 5,473 requests for data on users’ accounts, up from 4559 requests in the first six months of that year. Facebook provided “some data” in response to nearly 45% of those requests, the company said.

Facebook also blocked 5,832 pieces of content in the second half of 2014. That’s up from 4,960 pieces blocked from January to June last year.

I’ll continue to post links to my stories here on Newley.com, as always. But just a reminder that you can also sign up for my weekly newsletter in case you’d like my clips — and other fun stuff — delivered to your inbox, as well.


Anasuya’s New Documentary on Myanmar’s Rohingya People

I’m proud to share a documentary produced by Anasuya Sanyal — aka my amazing wife — that recently aired on Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia.

It’s about the struggles faced by the Rohingya people of Myanmar and a controversial government program designed to offer them citizenship.

The show is called “Between Two Worlds,” and is embedded above and on the Channel NewsAsia site here.


AP: ‘Myanmar telecom deal with Qatar firm sparks ire’

The AP reports:

Religious tensions engulfing Myanmar spread Friday to the world of big business: Monks and others in the Buddhist-dominated country demanded to know why a lucrative license for a new national mobile phone network had gone to a company from a Muslim nation.

There’s more on the deal itself from Bloomberg:

Norway’s Telenor ASA (TEL) and Ooredoo QSC (QTEL) of Qatar won licenses to expand telecommunications in Myanmar, one of the world’s last remaining untapped markets where only about one in 10 people has a mobile phone.

The two carriers beat nine other bidders including Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (ST), billionaire George Soros and Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) in the auction. A France Telecom SA-Marubeni Corp. group was named as a backup in case one of the winners doesn’t fulfill final requirements.

The decision ends a six-month race that drew 91 expressions of interest to operate in the country of 64 million people. The licenses are among the biggest prizes for foreign companies since President Thein Sein moved to allow greater political and economic freedom after taking power in 2011. They’ll be awarded according to a telecommunications law that parliament expects to adopt soon, according to a statement yesterday.

(All emphasis mine.)


‘The New Myanmar’: All 6 episodes of Anasuya’s new show

Last month I mentioned that the first two episodes of “The New Myanmar,” hosted by Anasuya Sanyal — also known as my amazing wife — were available online.

The show’s final four episodes have now aired on Channel NewsAsia, as well, and I wanted to embed them here.

Again, here are the first two shows:

Episode one, “Artistic Freedom,” about music and the arts in the country:

Episode two, about Yangon’s architectural heritage:

And now for the newer shows:

Episode three, on business development in Myanmar:

Episode four, on media in the country:

Episode five, about resolving the country’s ethnic conflicts:

And, finally, episode six, on what lies ahead for Myanmar:


Patrick Winn Kicks off Reddit AMA on Myanmar

A quick note: Patrick Winn, a journalist who’s done a lot of reporting on Myanmar for Globalpost, is currently holding a Reddit AMA — (Ask Me Anything) on the country. Worth a look.


‘The New Myanmar’: First Two Episodes Available Online

I mentioned a few weeks back that Anasuya’s new Channel NewsAsia TV show, “The New Myanmar,” would soon air.

Well, the first two episodes have been broadcast, and they’re now available online.

Embedded above on online here is episode one, “Artistic Freedom,” about music and the arts in the country.

And embedded above on and online here is episode two, “Saving Yangon,” about the city’s architectural heritage.

There are several more episodes to come. You can see them live on Channel NewsAsia on Mondays from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Singapore time.


Anasuya’s New Documentary Series on Myanmar

Here’s the trailer for a new Channel NewsAsia documentary series called “The New Myanmar.”

The series is hosted by Anasuya Sanyal, otherwise known as my amazing wife.

The first show airs Monday, May 6 from 8:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Singapore time, and the series runs through June 10.

Keep an eye out if you receive Channel NewsAsia, or try to catch the show live online when it airs.

(Note: The trailer, as embedded above, may not display properly on a mobile device, but it should be viewable on a laptop or desktop computer.)


Obama’s State of the Union remarks on Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar

President Obama just finished his State of the Union address.

I Tweeted his remarks about Myanmar and wanted to share them here as well:

Here’s the rest of the passage, for context. You can find the full text and a video of the speech on the New York Times’s site.

We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.

Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon – when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, “There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.”

In defense of freedom, we will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can – and will – insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.


NY Times: Journalists who cover Myanmar may have had their email hacked

The New York Times reports today:

Several journalists who cover Myanmar said Sunday that they had received warnings from Google that their e-mail accounts might have been hacked by “state-sponsored attackers.”

The warnings began appearing last week, said the journalists, who included employees of Eleven Media, one Myanmar’s leading news organizations; Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based author and expert on Myanmar’s ethnic groups; and a Burmese correspondent for The Associated Press.

Worth a read.


BBC: Thai Officials Reportedly Sold Rohingya Refugees to Human Traffickers

2013 01 22 rohingya bbc

Here’s the BBC’s video report and text piece.

Parts of the story seem to have first appeared in Phuket Wan last week.

Here’s a Bangkok Post story.

Reuters and the AP also have stories.

And Saksith Saiyasombut has a post at Asian Correspondent summarizing the news.

(Image: BBC.)


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