The past year has been filled with high anticipation that opportunities would be created by Myanmar’s political reform and the opening up of its legal market to the outside world. The sense of opportunity has also driven many firms to open up shop or form an association there. Stephenson Harwood, Rajah & Tann, ZICOLaw, and Nishimura & Asahiare some examples.
But we are now starting to see the impact of that foreign investment. Allen & Overy, Norton Rose and Australian firm Webb Henderson, for instance, got a head start in Myanmar’s telecom sector, after being instructed by Telenor and Ooredoo to advise on the first two multi-billion dollar telecom projects in the country.
Korean firm Jipyong Jisung, which opened a Yangon office in 2012, is advising a Korean consortium led by Incheon International Airport Corporation on its $1.1bn bid to build a new international airport near Yangon – the first infrastructure project in decades.
As the country opens up more sectors to foreign investment, more firms will undoubtedly be able to grab a piece of the action in the fast-emerging economy. Myanmar’s nascent market also provides an even playing field for Asian and international law firms. There are plenty of opportunities for regional firms, such as those based in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Japan, to triumph, so long as their home-market clients have the fortune to win the bid.