Burmese Tycoons Part I
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Monday, May 27, 2024


Burmese Tycoons Part I

By The Irrawaddy JUNE, 2000 - VOLUME 8 NO.6

(Page 2 of 3)

Yuzana has recently received a government loan to assist its construction business and shrimp firms as they are facing serious financial difficulties.

U Htay Myint is also president of the following associations/businesses: the Construction Owners’ Association, the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, the Myanmar Projects’ Association, Industrial Holdings Ltd and Yuzana business companies and concessions.

His wealth and business skills were acknowledged in 1994 when his Yuzana Company opened one of Burma’s biggest shopping centers, the Yuzana Super Market in Rangoon. Subsequently, Yuzana has aggressively invested in real estates projects. It has also opened more supermarkets, hotels and resorts. The three-star Yuzana Hotel, with 198 rooms, was opened in Rangoon in 1997.

With the Shwe Thazin company as its business partner, Yuzana Co Ltd has managed a factory producing seasoning in Deik Oo Township since 1998, although the factory is owned by Industry Ministry No 1.

U Aung Ko Win (Saya Kyaung)

Kanbawza Bank

Until 1988, U Aung Ko Win was a little-known school teacher. Thus, he is also known as "Saya Kyaung" meaning "School Teacher." But he has strong connections with the ruling junta through his close relationship with Gen Maung Aye, vice chairman of the SPDC. He is seen as the General’s "adopted son". At the initial stages of Burma’s "market economy" in the late eighties he was in charge of purchasing goods at Shan Yoma Shopping Center in Tachilek, owned by the Eastern Command where Gen Maung Aye served as commander. With the blessings of the influential general, U Aung Ko Win began his own business in the early 1990s.

His ties with the top brass were strengthened by his marriage to Daw Nan Than Htwe, the niece of Secretary 3 of the ruling junta, Lt Gen Win Myint.

Aung Ko Win is the only person to have been permitted an import license for cement. He is also engaged in the agriculture business and is currently president of the Myanmar Billion Group, Nilayoma Co Ltd, East Yoma Co Ltd and Kanbawza Hospital in Taunggyi, Shan State. He is also the agent for London Cigarettes for Shan and Kayah States.

He also became president of the Kanbawza Bank, which was established in Taunggyi, in January 2000. Aung Ko Win took over the management of the bank with substantial financial backing from his business associates, including coconut cooking oil industrialists and large-scale gem businessmen. At that time, the bank had only four branch offices in the country, but has since become very successful within a short period of time and is predicted to grow further. So far, Aung Ko Win is reported to have donated 50% of the bank’s net profit to Burma’s national football team. He is reported to have donated US$2.85 million to public projects such as the renovation of the Shwedagon Pagoda.

U Tun Myint Naing (Steven Law)

Asia World Co Ltd

Managing Director of Burma’s biggest conglomerate, Asia World Co Ltd, Steven Law is also son of Lo Hsing Han, the infamous drug lord and chairman of Asia World. Asia World Co Ltd was founded on June 5, 1992 with strong financial backing, and engages in a broad range of business activities.

Steven Law married Singaporean Cecilia Ng, a business partner, in 1995. There are three "overseas branch companies" of Asia World in Singapore run by Steven Law and his wife. According to a high-level US government official, Cecilia Ng operates an underground banking system and through this is "a contact for people in Burma to get their drug money into Singapore, because she has a connection to the government."

Steven Law also has strong business connections with Malaysian-born tycoon Robert Kuok.

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