Myanmar – slow but steady change
Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, commonly shortened to Myanmar is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. One third of Burma’s total perimeter of 1,930 kilometers (1,200 miles) forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. It has a population of over 50 million and the capital city is Naypyidaw, not to be confused with the largest city, Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
The country gained independence from the British in 1948, initially as a democratic nation and then, following a coup in 1962, a military dictatorship which formally ended in 2011.
Burma is a country rich in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources and the economy is dominated by agriculture, which accounts for over 59 percent of the gross domestic product and employs about two-thirds of the labor force. Rice is the main product.
Since 1992, the government has encouraged tourism in the country; however, for some time, much of the country was off-limits to visitors, and interactions between foreigners and the people of Burma, particularly in the border regions, could be subject to police scrutiny. As sanctions lift, Myanmar is opening up but the pace is slow.
Business relationships focus on building trust and friendship. If a business favour is received, the recipient must repay it at a later date. Business topics typically do not come up in conversation when two business people meet for the first time; the meeting serves as an opportunity to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and personality. Most commercial business transactions in Myanmar occur in English, but business cards with Burmese translation can facilitate better communication. People in Myanmar have a custom of showing respect to their elders, which can create friction in business situations when a supervisor is younger than a subordinate
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Sources: Wikipedia, Everyculture.com, USA Today, Lonely Planet.
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