The Embassy of the Republic of Korea has officially denied rumors of a mass exodus of Korean businesses from Myanmar. The embassy issued a statement that emphasized South Korea’s commitment to investing in Myanmar. It also claimed that it had not heard of any Korean businesses abandoning Myanmar for Bangladesh.
In recent weeks various Bangladeshi media reported that around 100 Korean businesses would relocate from Myanmar to its western neighbor. The reports appear to have heard that claim from the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority. The rumors were swiftly dismissed by Myanmar Investment Commission secretary U Thant Sin Lwin, who told the Myanmar Times that “there are no cases at all of South Korean investors returning MIC permits and moving out of Myanmar.”
The statement by the Korean embassy affirmed Thant Sin Lwin’s comments, adding that, indeed, inquiries from prospective South Korean investors has been on the rise. South Korea has long been one of Myanmar’s chief trade partners. The country has invested USD 3.9 billion in Myanmar, according to official data. The largest Korean-backed industries include oil and gas and manufacturing.
Investment from Korea’s public sector is also on the rise. In September, during a visit to Myanmar by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the two countries signed an agreement for a financing framework valuing USD 1 billion. That loan will finance a wide range of infrastructure projects.