Promoting Automotive Industry in Least Developed Countries: A Field Survey in Myanmar

Type de publication:

Conference Paper

Source:

Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2018)

Résumé:

 Mobility is a universal desire common to all humankind that increases rapidly with economic growth. Meeting this desire is a key issue for least developed countries that is close to get out of it, too. The primary means of mobility may continuously be automotive.
Existing automotive manufacturing countries can be classified into four categories depending on its historical milestone. First category is the cradle of automotive industry with domestic capital OEMs. This category includes France, Germany, the United States, and so on. Second category started to introduce technology since early 20th century with domestic capital OEMs. This category includes India, Japan, Sweden, and so on. Third category started to introduce technology since second half of 20th century with domestic capital OEMs. This category includes China and South Korea. Fourth category has no domestic capital OEMs, however successfully attracted multinational OEMs and supply not only to domestic market but also to international market thanks to trade liberation. This category includes Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, and so on.
And other countries, including least developed countries, are supplied CBUs or CKD sets from automotive manufacturing countries for its mobility and logistics needs.
How least developed countries meet its mobility and logistics desire? Will they be able to manufacture their automotive by themselves?
To think about it, we must take into account that automotive industry is now facing paradigm change. Thus, existing catchup method that most of Fourth category countries had taken is no longer effective, because it assumes that de facto standard of automotive is stable. Moreover, least developed countries do not have advanced technology about New Generation of Vehicles.
Then, least developed countries cannot help continue to rely automotive on import from developed countries or neighbor countries? If so, instead of promoting automotive industry that has major impact on its economy, they will continue to import automotive with their precious foreign exchange. This will make economic gap between least developed countries and developed countries stable or even widen.
On the other hands, poor infrastructures for conventional automotive may make much easier adapting to New Generation of Vehicles, like mobile phone.
In this presentation, I would like to discuss about possibility of promoting automotive industry in least developed countries with the findings from my field survey in Myanmar.
Myanmar is still a least developed country and a member of ASEAN/AFTA. For decades, its military administration had faced economic sanction from Western countries that had inhibited its economic growth. From early 2010s, economic sanction has gradually been removed. Recently, this contributes to its economic growth.
Myanmar is the fourth largest country in population among ASEAN countries, so select multinational OEMs perceive it as a promising market. Moreover, some OEMs and suppliers regard it as an optimal location as a manufacturing plant, because of its talented and abundant workforce. On the other hands, it has poor infrastructures for conventional automotive. This makes severe traffic jam, especially in its largest city, Yangon.