Burma’s Other Business Tycoons
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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Burma’s Other Business Tycoons

By Wai Moe Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Although the US has stepped up its sanctions on the Burmese regime by targeting business people known to have close links with the junta, several of the generals’ cronies are missing from the list.

Several, like Tay Za, head of the Htoo Trading Company, and Htay Myint, CEO of Yuzana, were highlighted in a list published by The Irrawaddy in September 2005.

Two others now join The Irrawaddy’s list of those who benefit from their friendship with the generals by receiving valuable business permits, export-import licences and other favors. Both are as powerful on Burma’s business scene as Tay Za, who is reputedly his country’s wealthiest tycoon.

Win Myint

Win Myint

Win Myint is President of The Union of Myanmar [Burma] Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and of the Merchants Association—and the man who effectively controls the price of rice in Burma.

His career as a successful rice merchant took off after the 1988 uprising, when he set up Joint Venture 3, which controls Burmese rice exports. He later founded the rice-exporting concern Shwe Nagar Min Company, which also imports palm oil. His business empire includes several rice mills in Rangoon Division.

Several generals are believed to have invested in the business projects of Win Myint, who is said to be particularly close to junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe. Win Myint is reported to have sealed his friendship with the aging leader and his family with presents of luxury automobiles.

Win Myint’s other close regime contacts included Lt-Gen Tin Oo, Secretary 2 of the military council, who died in a helicopter crash in February 2002.

His home is in Than Lwin Street in an upmarket area of Rangoon known as Windermere.

Aung Myat

Burma’s cement industry is now firmly in the hands of a young Chinese businessman with the name of Aung Myat, who heads the Mother Trading Company Ltd.

Aung Myat embarked on building his cement empire in the early 1990s, and now is assured of lucrative construction projects from such government departments as the Ministry of Industry-1. His company recently donated 1,000 bags of cement to Rangoon municipality.

Industry Minister Aung Thaung, the man reportedly behind the recent attacks by armed thugs on demonstrators, is among Aung Myat’s close government contacts.

He is said to be a welcome visitor at the homes of Aung Thaung and junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe. Rumor has it that he is so respectful to the older men that he sits on the floor in their company and addressed them with royal titles.

Aung Myat shares Than Shwe’s interest in astrology and is a member of the Tain Kyar astrological circle led by Bodaw Than Hla, chief astrologer to deposed Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.

Despite his close relationship to Khin Nyunt, Aung Myat survived the premier’s fall from grace and is reported to have attracted investment in his business ventures from members of the junta.
The Irrawaddy will be profiling other important members of Burma’s business community in future contributions from correspondent Wai Moe.

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