BOURBONNAIS, IL – Myanmar is located in southeast Asia and is bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. Many American companies are once again beginning to market their products in the country and Ford is one of them. Being one of the first auto makers to re-enter the market, Ford is seizing a potential opportunity in Myanmar.
New cars and trucks are a rare sight on the streets. According to CNN.com, roughly 40% of all vehicles on the road are 20 years or older and with that comes many opportunities for car repairs and maintenance. Buses can be as old as a few decades. The brakes on the buses are not always in the healthiest of conditions and often times there is someone riding on the back of the bus, inserting blocks under the wheels when it stops to prevent it from rolling backwards. “That’s just flat-out dangerous,” David Westerman, Ford’s director of export operations for Asia Pacific, said from his Bangkok office. “We saw that and we knew there were good opportunities in the marketplace.”
The setup for cars and traffic is also a way that Ford is seizing an opportunity in Myanmar. Many vehicles are set up with the steering wheel on the right, to be driven in the left lane, as they have in Europe. However, the streets are set up the same as in the United States and you are to drive in the right lane. Ultimately, having passengers on buses depart into oncoming traffic.
Doing business in Myanmar will come with obstacles as well as opportunities. Ford will need to learn how to do business properly in the country as to not offend but is up to the challenge. The Obama administration eased sanctions after the country moved to a more democratic government allowing for the first few months of 2013 to already outpace all of 2012. Companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Proctor & Gamble are among the few companies with operations or franchises set up and already marketing their respective products.
It is not wonder that theses companies are trying to enter this market which has an astounding population of just over 60 million, making it the 24th most populated country in the world.
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