Chinese investors and the government of Myanmar should work together to reduce distrust and hostility and increase responsible investment in Myanmar to benefit both nations, according to a new issue brief, “Chinese Investment in Myanmar: What Lies Ahead?” It highlights the need for greater foreign investment in Myanmar – particularly in the Southeast Asian nation’s underdeveloped and inadequate infrastructure – to speed industrialization and modernization.
The study documents a dramatic drop in Chinese investment in Myanmar. After a reformist government replaced a military junta in Myanmar in 2011, Chinese investment in the nation formerly known as Burma fell from the U.S. equivalent of $13 billion in the period of 2008-2011 to just $407 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
China now perceives Myanmar as an unfriendly and risky place to invest and is displeased that the Myanmar government is not doing more to protect Chinese interests in the country, the study concludes.
The study is the first Stimson report written by Yun Sun, who recently joined the nonprofit and nonpartisan international security think tank as a fellow with the East Asia program. She was previously a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, a China analyst for International Crisis Group based in Beijing from 2008 to 2011, and earlier worked on U.S.-Asia relations at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Asia Society in Washington.
The series of issue briefs, titled “Great Powers and the Changing Myanmar,” will explore various aspects of Myanmar’s internal development, including economic growth, ethnic conflicts and national reconciliation. They will also look at the evolution of Myanmar’s relationship with major powers in and outside the region, especially China and the United States.