BT INVEST

A Personal Finance and Investment Arm of The Business Times
MARKET TODAY:

Archive

Where is the Best Place to Invest ?

Where is the Best Place to Invest ?

The best country to invest in is … ?

History tells us that when a country opens up politically and more importantly economically – investing in companies in that country has been a good bet, particularly in the long term if you are a “buy and hold” type of investor.

Tremendous opportunities?

Imagine a large country (677,000 square kilometres) with over 50 million people, which was a military dictatorship for almost fifty years until 2011, and was practically closed to the world with sanctions from the western countries like the United States and Europe.

No "fast food" super-brands

That does not even have any international Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) – which has just announced the entry by awarding its first QSR franchise – Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

For comparative purposes of the growth prospects – a smaller country like Thailand has about KFC 500 outlets.

The "best in the world" have chosen to enter?

A country which the renowned Peninsula (hotel) which has chosen only nine cities to operate in the world – has a joint venture to build a heritage hotel in a over hundred years’ old national heritage building.

Government is "waking up"?

Where the Government buys about 1, 500 of the most technologically advanced tractors for farmers in addition to private sector tractor purchases.

This country used to be called “the rice bowl of the world” – an accolade which it has lost due to the technological obsolescence of its agricultural sector.

Where the development and sales of high-end luxury residential properties is growing at arguably, the fast rate of growth in the world.

Alas! Opening up!

With the gradual democratisation of the country and the lifting of sanctions – the economy is expected to accelerate its pace of growth.Those who have left the country are also returning for economic and social reasons.

Fastest growing foreign workers?

Just look at the huge influx of workers from this country into Singapore – and you don’t need to be a genius to guess where most of their incomes will be remitting back to.

No "working" banking system?

With practically a “non-existent” banking system by normal standards – almost all transactions, including property purchases in the millions in US$ terms are paid for in cash – where prospective property buyers carry gunny sacks of cash to pay the typical 20 per cent down-payment – it gives you a sense of how things will grow phenomenally.

Investing in this country

Finally, if you are a stock investor – there aren’t many Myanmar conglomerate companies listed in stock exchanges, like Singapore’s – which may make this a good bet purely from a demand and supply perspective.Of course, this country does not have a stock exchange or capital markets, and will be establishing one in the future.

The next "jewel in the crown" among developing countries?

And this country is … Myanmar!

By the way, the return airfare all-in between Singapore and Myanmar starts from only around S$200!

 
Leong Sze Hian
Leong Sze Hian

Leong Sze Hian is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, has authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been host of a money radio show, a daily newspaper column, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, acting managing editor and columnist for theonlinecitizen, columnist for Malaysiakini, a Member on the CIFA International Advisory Board, executive producer of the movie Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), treasurer of Maruah, and invited to speak more than 100 times in more than 25 countries on 5 continents. He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelor's degrees and 13 professional qualifications.