Mobile Telecommunications, the Internet and Social and Economic Development in Myanmar

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Announcing: Khaing, Mya Kay and John Walsh, “Mobile Telecommunications, the Internet and Social and Economic Development in Myanmar,” International Review of Management and Development Studies, Vol.2, No.4 (2018), pp.51-60, available at: http://crcltd.org/Files/Mobile_Telecommunications__the_Internet_and_Social_and_Economic_Development_in_Myanmar.PDF.

Abstract:

Myanmar has changed from being a closed society under the military dictatorship that ran the country for decades to becoming an open or at least semi-open country with a democratic system. One impact of this has been in the field of mobile telecommunications; ten years ago, almost no one had a mobile telephone but now almost everyone does and, with it, very commonly access to the internet. This paper draws upon empirical research into these issues and this has informed the current discussion, which focuses on the social and economic development of the country under the current conditions.

Keywords: economic development, internet, mobile telecommunications, Myanmar, social development

Access to Mobile Telecommunications and the Internet in Rural Myanmar

Announcing: Khaing, Mya Kay and John Walsh, “Access to Mobile Telecommunications and the Internet in Rural Myanmar,” International Review of Management and Development Studies, Vol.2, No.4 (2018), pp.20-34, available at: http://crcltd.org/Files/Access_to_Mobile_Telecommunications_and_the_Internet_in_Rural_Myanmar.PDF.

Abstract:

A quantitative survey of 411 completed questionnaires was conducted in northern
Myanmar to try to ascertain the extent to which the rapid spread of mobile telecommunications
in much of the rest of the country is also taking place in rural, northern areas. It was found that
although mobile telecommunication penetration had taken place at a high rate, there was a
lower level of apparent internet usage as mobile operators have promoted Face book access at a
low or zero price as separate from the internet as a whole, for which a premium fee must be
paid. Face book has, for many people, de facto become the internet. The comparatively low level
of Face book pages in Myanmar language and the even fewer numbers in the languages of the
many ethnic minority people of the country mean there are both barriers to access to
information and a greater likelihood that unchecked information might spread rapidly. It is also
found that access to agricultural information through mobile telephones is at a comparatively
low level and most people use these devices to keep in contact with friends and family
members. There are, therefore, opportunities for improving developmental opportunities for
rural farming households by using this technology.

Keywords: agriculture, information, internet, mobile telecommunications, Myanmar

Competition Policy, Connectivity and E-Commerce in Myanmar

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I am back now from the first workshop on the third phase of the ERIA (eria.org) project on Digital Connectivity in ASEAN and East Asia, held at the One Farrar Hotel in sunny Singapore. It went well and attendants presented some interesting proposals for the research they intend to undertake. Proposals are to be revised by the end of the month when convenor Dr. Lurong Chen will submit a book proposal and then the second workshop will be in February, 2019 in Jakarta for presentation of draft papers.

Here is the abstract of my project:

Competition Policy, Connectivity and E-Commerce in Myanmar

Abstract

The purpose of competition policy is to help structure and regulate market activities so that they are comparatively free and fair for both consumers and also companies and other institutions. It is based on the premise that development, broadly defined, will be best achieved by creating market conditions that are neutral with respect to enterprise ownership (i.e. public or private) and derivation (i.e. domestic or international investment). This premise has been challenged by historians of economic development who note that developed nations achieved their status by systematically contravening the tenets of this approach. Nevertheless, competition policy has a number of impacts on connectivity, which is itself an important measure of economic and social development. The ability of people, companies and institutions to connect with each other and external sources (physically or virtually) influences the ability they have to identify and take advantage of new or variant commercial or social opportunities. This is particularly true with e-commerce, since this can only meaningfully take place when there is a level of connectivity between those people who are involved in the various transactions. These issues, which are complex and difficult to manage in even the most developed states, are particularly problematic in a country such as Myanmar, which not only has to contend with less developed nation status but also has to contend with very low levels of physical infrastructure, high levels of inequality, great diversity in terms of ethnic minority peoples and the legacy of both colonialism and instances of civil war. This raises practical questions of promulgating regulations and principles in a number of different languages when there is limited technical capacity – this issue has proved to beyond the ability of transnational corporations such as Facebook to manage successfully. Informed by empirical research conducted in the first two phases of this research project, this paper uses critical and comparative analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses of Myanmar’s emergent regime of competition policy in the light of how such processes have taken place in regional neighbours such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. An account of the provision of e-commerce providers and platforms in Myanmar is included. Policy issues are highlighted but so too are both governance and enforcement issues in the context of a diverse nation with many centrifugal forces working upon them. Recommendations are drawn from this analysis.

Keywords: competition policy; connectivity; e-commerce; Myanmar

SIU Journal of Management, Vol.8, No.1 (June, 2018)

Welcome to the Vol.8, No.1 (June, 2018) issue of the SIU Journal of Management.

CONTENTS

Volume 8, Number 1, June, 2018
Editor’s Introduction

SPECIAL ISSUE: FOOD INSECURITY IN LAO PDR, MYANMAR, THAILAND AND VIETNAM

1. Introduction to the Project – John Walsh (Introduction to the Food Insecurity Project in Four Mekong Region Countries)
2. Food Insecurity in Lao PDR – Nittana Southiseng (8.1.Southiseng)
3. Food Insecurity in Myanmar – Myat Thander Tin
4. Food Insecurity in Thailand – Petcharat Lovichakorntikul (8.1.Lovichakorntikul)
5. Food Insecurity in Vietnam – Nancy Huyen Nguyen (8.1.Nguyen)
6. Methodological Issues for the FAO’s Food Insecurity Experience Survey – Aimee Hampel

PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH ARTICLES

1 Relocation and Integration of Internally Displaced Children into Public Schools in Nigeria: Some Policy Issues – Subair S. Tayo and Aliyu M. Olasunkanmi
2. An Empirical Study on Organizational Justice and Turnover Intention in the Private Commercial Banks of Bangladesh – Popy Podder, Md. Sahidur Rahman and Shameema Ferdausy
3. Justice and Righteousness in Amos 5:21-27 and Its Implications for Nigerian Society – Oluwaseyi Nathaniel Shogunle

 

BOOK REVIEWS

1. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates – John Walsh
2. No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics by Naomi Klein – John Walsh (8.1.Klein)
3. Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy by Jochen Wirtz and Christopher Lovelock – John Walsh
4. High-Speed Empire: Chinese Expansion and the Future of Southeast Asia by Will Doig – John Walsh (8.1.Doig)

CALL FOR PAPERS

AUTHOR’S GUIDELINES

ABOUT SHINAWATRA UNIVERSITY

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Border Economic Zones Linking China with Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnam

Announcing: Walsh, John, “Border Economic Zones Linking China with Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnam,” in Herlin Chien, ed., Southeast Asia: Beyond Borders and Boundaries (Kaohsiung: Wenzao Ursuline University Press, 2018), pp.128-42.

More details about the book may be found here.

Connectivity and Healthcare in Myanmar

I spent this weekend attending the ERIA Workshop on the Second Phase of the Project on the Digital Economy, Innovation and East Asia at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel here in sunny Bangkok. The weekend went well and 15 presentations were made overall. Now we will continue to produce the final versions of the papers which will be published as an ERIA report (http://www.eria.org/publications/) and possibly an edited book thereafter.

The abstract for my paper was:

Connectivity and the Healthcare Market in Myanmar

Abstract

One of the results of the long isolation of Myanmar and its people has been the way in which its healthcare industry has become obsolete and lacking in resources. Although wealthy Myanmar people have been able to travel to Thailand or Singapore for contemporary standards of healthcare for the last few years, this option has not been available for the majority of the people. Instead, they have been required to rely on low-cost options, such as the use of generic pharmaceutical products and traditional remedies, in the absence of affordable and high-quality local services. The issues are compounded by the absence of modern healthcare products, the inability of healthcare staff to learn from overseas sources and the limitations on modern communications on almost any subject. However, this situation is changing as the country is opening to the world and burgeoning connectivity is enhancing the ability of individuals and organizations to exchange information, travel and import equipment and expertise. Inevitably, the degree to which people are able to benefit from these changes is uneven because there is not an even distribution of the means of connectivity, i.e. infrastructure, education, market access and equipment. This paper reports on both qualitative and quantitative programmes of research aimed at identifying the different uses of ICT in improving connectivity in healthcare in Myanmar, featuring respondents in both the urban centre of Mandalay and in rural areas. The quantitative research will focus on the everyday life of people and the ways in which aspects of connectivity are incorporated within those lives with respect to various aspects of healthcare. The qualitative research will focus on personal interviews with a range of relevant stakeholders in activities relating to healthcare, including healthcare provision, use of medical laboratories, importing of healthcare equipment, pharmaceutical distribution and hospital management. The results of the research are added to already existing knowledge of Myanmar society to illustrate the nature of rapidly changing lives that are inequitably providing previously unavailable opportunities and aspirations. Some policy recommendations are drawn from the analysis.

Keywords: connectivity; healthcare; inequitable change; Myanmar; social change

Connectivity and the Healthcare Sector in Myanmar

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Announcing: Walsh, John, “Connectivity and the Healthcare Sector in Myanmar,” paper presented at the First Workshop of the Second Phase of ERIA Digital Economy, Innovation, and East Asia’s Competitiveness (January 21st-22nd, Bangkok).

I attended the first workshop of the second phase of ERIA’s project on the Digital Economy, Innovation and East Asia’s Competitiveness at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel, here in sunny Bangkok earlier this week. It went well. Here is my abstract:

One of the results of the long isolation of Myanmar and its people has been the way in which its healthcare industry has become obsolete and lacking in resources. Although wealthy Myanmar people have been able to travel to Thailand or Singapore for contemporary standards of healthcare for the last few years, this option has not been available for the majority of the people. Instead, they have been required to rely on low-cost options, such as the use of generic pharmaceutical products and traditional remedies, in the absence of affordable and high-quality local services. The issues are compounded by the absence of modern healthcare products, the inability of healthcare staff to learn from overseas sources and the limitations on modern communications on almost any subject. However, this situation is changing as the country is opening to the world and burgeoning connectivity is enhancing the ability of individuals and organizations to exchange information, travel and import equipment and expertise. Inevitably, the degree to which people are able to benefit from these changes is uneven because there is not an even distribution of the means of connectivity, i.e. infrastructure, education, market access and equipment. This paper reports on both qualitative and quantitative programmes of research aimed at identifying the different uses of ICT in improving connectivity in healthcare in Myanmar, featuring respondents in both the urban centre of Mandalay and in rural areas. The quantitative research will focus on the everyday life of people and the ways in which aspects of connectivity are incorporated within those lives with respect to various aspects of healthcare. The qualitative research will focus on personal interviews with a range of relevant stakeholders in activities relating to healthcare, including healthcare provision, use of medical laboratories, importing of healthcare equipment, pharmaceutical distribution and hospital management. The results of the research are added to already existing knowledge of Myanmar society to illustrate the nature of rapidly changing lives that are inequitably providing previously unavailable opportunities and aspirations. Some policy recommendations are drawn from the analysis.

Keywords: connectivity; healthcare; inequitable change; Myanmar; social change

The next workshop is likely to be in Indonesia in April, by which time a draft paper should be available for all participants.