Kim Chawsu, a Managing Director of KBZ Bank in Myanmar, provides ground-level perspectives on the momentous change now sweeping through her country.
Kim Chawsu Gyi left her native Burma (now Myanmar) when she was ten years old. In the ensuing years she became a career finance professional who has worked at some of the world’s largest banks, to include Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Two years ago she returned to her home to take the role of Managing Director of International Banking at KBZ Bank, the largest private bank in Myanmar.
Last month’s national elections can only be described as momentous. After fifty years of military rule and isolation, Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party has now won a convincing mandate to govern the country – and most importantly, the military has (so far) conceded defeat. What does this mean for the country – its people, and its future?
In this podcast, Kevin Virgil asks Kim a range of questions about the ‘ground truth’ in Yangon today. Have sentiments and activities changed in any way since the election? What does the country need most urgently? And will foreign investors be permitted to participate in what will surely be dramatic growth after a half-century of isolation.
4:07 How has Myanmar changed since you moved away in 1987?
5:23 Why did you decide 2013 was the right time to come back?
6:28 Do you agree with projections that Myanmar’s financial services sector will require another 45,000 banking professionals over the next 4 years?
8:29 What are the biggest challenges that exist in building a modern banking system in Myanmar?
12:51 What is the general sense and sentiment amongst the Burmese people after the November 2015 elections?
15:23 What are the ground truths of the recent elections that foreign observers may not be aware of?
19:08 Up until 50 years ago, Myanmar was the powerhouse of Southeast Asia. Mass media is now portraying a major revival in investment. What is your assessment of the amount of private investment actually coming into Myanmar?
20:31 What are the largest fears amongst foreign businesses currently establishing operations in the country?
23:48 What is the status of the Myanmar stock exchange launch? Have brokerage licenses been allocated? Are there any signs of plans to let foreign nationals and foreign institutions participate?
27:21 What are the various ways that foreign investors can gain exposure to the property sector? What is the status of the condominium law, which was allegedly supposed to allow foreigners to buy apartments?
28:49 Are there currently enough hotels to accommodate the rapidly increasing amount of tourists coming to the country?
29:24 Is true that apartment rental rates in downtown Yangon are currently on par with London and New York?
32:08 Which sectors does the government intend to open for foreign participation?
36:38 Tell us about the services that KBZ Bank offers to foreign businesses?