Over half of the 42 companies that have committed to building in Thilawa special economic zone are Japanese firms, according to U Myint Zaw, general manager of Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development.
While there are currently no factories up and running at the site, construction is moving forward and some of the factories ought to be finished by the end of the year, he said.
“There are still a lot more companies that will come in,” said U Myint Zaw, on the sidelines of BuildTech Yangon last week.
The zone is 51 percent owned by Myanmar government and companies, and 49pc by Japan International Cooperation Agency and three private firms. The zone offers tax incentives and on-site facilities in an effort to attract investment.
“There are no factories currently operating in Thilawa. But to have them operating by the end of 2015, more companies are building the infrastructure,” he said.
Of the companies that have committed to the SEZ, 22 are from Japan, five are Myanmar’s, four are from Taiwan, three from Thailand, two from China, and the US, Sweden, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong each claim one.
U Nyan Thit Hlaing, joint secretary of Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association, said infrastructure development is crucial to bringing in investment.
“Investors are now working on developing infrastructure, and that technology is more important for local construction companies. So long as investors are flowing in, the construction market will boom,” he said.
Some commentators have said that Myanmar is due for a large influx of foreign cash for the project. U Than Lwin, senior adviser to KBZ Bank, said that much of the money is earmarked for construction materials.
A US-based beverage producer and a Japanese auto parts manufacturer were the first two companies to sign up for the SEZ in June 2014. Developers aim to wrap up work on the first phase of the zone next year, as well as creating tens of thousands of jobs.