This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

U.S., Japan Want a Piece of China's Myanmar Action

TAIPEI ( TheStreet) -- The irony is irrepressible. We have two authoritarian Asian neighbors with a historically cozy anti-Western relationship. One is investing all over the world, from acquisitions in the United States to resource exploration in Africa. The other has cracked open its fertile economy to foreign investors over the past year.

But China is not emerging as the most favored investor in Myanmar, according to an unusually critical report in the venerable Caijing.com.cn online newspaper. Its July 30 commentary says Chinese investors are offering excessively "traditional industries" such as mining, infrastructure construction and telecom projects. Those missions would give China access to the Indian Ocean while locking in natural resources for its still fast-growing economy.

But the Burmese are less interested in horse-trading for ports and minerals than in helping bottle American soft drinks, eating American fried chicken and buying Japanese electronics. Myanmar's market today lacks the scale to lift the shares of those foreign investors, but early arrivals in the once-closed nation of about 55 million people should see eventual rewards.

China won't be competing unless it gives up the traditional client-provider investment approach.

"In contrast to the enthusiasm of the United States, Japan and many other countries, Chinese enterprises, which used to enjoy great advantages in Myanmar, seem to have become onlookers in Myanmar's new investment boom," Caijing.com.cn laments.

China should know it can't keep taking the default view that because the countries to its south are smaller or poorer than China that they're just waiting to be spoon-fed.

Vietnam still beats its chest today about routing China in their war of 1979. Resentment against the Chinese merchant class lingers in Indonesia even 15 years after sometimes brutal forced assimilation under ex-president Suharto. Continental Southeast Asia has pushed back against China for building dams on the upper Mekong River, diverting flows to the delta.

"Bottom line: Were Chinese companies to become more involved in services outside the extractive industries, perceptions would likely shift. In the present environment, any attention paid to a project's environmental and social impacts -- in any industry -- would also help," says Ryker Labbee, Myanmar country director with the research firm Cascade Asia Advisors.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $127.60 0.00%
FB $83.09 0.00%
GOOG $535.38 0.00%
TSLA $205.27 0.00%
YHOO $44.66 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,034.93 +208.63 1.17%
S&P 500 2,100.40 +19.22 0.92%
NASDAQ 4,994.6020 +62.7870 1.27%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs