Going global with Myanmar software products

SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2019

With most ICT companies in Myanmar focusing on the domestic market, the women-led Myanmar High Society Co (MHS), seeks to further expand in the  global arena with professional software and innovation solutions developed by local technicians, according to Cho Zin Wint, the firm’s founder and chief executive.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, she said MHS has been servฌing around 40 clients, of which 90 per cent are overseas companies. She foresees many more foreign clients in the months to come.
“Our core business is software outsourcing.  In the past few months, we have witnessed a surging demand for our products from potential  clients in the United States, Japan and Singapore,” she said
“This year, we plan to tap further  into the huge potential of the Japanese market. Our first priority is to ensure our products meet the needs of our corporate clients, both local and international. Otherwise, it will be hard to compete overseas.”
Cho Zin Wint established the company in mid-2014,  after 12 years of handson experiences in Singapore and Myanmar. In the iniฌtial period, she funded the company with US$10,000 of her own money,  which is now worth $3 million in assets.
She takes pride in making profits every year, though MHS has yet to pitch for investors.  But,  the executive said there would be many fund-raising activities in the near future.
“We have been growing by 10 to 20 per cent on a monthly basis while aiming for a growth target of 200 per cent by the end of next year,” she said.
Currently, the company has a staff of  more than 40  with 95 per cent working as technicians, the rest on  business development. It invests 30 per cent of its monthly expanses in research and development.
“At MHS, we are employee-centric. When we take good care of our employees, they will do the same to our clients. It is one the company’s policy,” she said.
“ Another important factor is to have the right people in the right place. When it comes to micromanagement, we need to be sure that employees’ intelligence and motivation will not be lost.  We empower and place trust in our people”. 
The company has  gained confidence from international clients which Cho Zin Wint considers the most  significant achievement of MHS.   She remains confident that the company will be more successful despite fierce competition.
“We do not have any concerns over the sustainability of the company in the long term, having overcoming many challenges in the past five years. But, we always try to stand out from the crowd,” she said.
“Our main competitors in overseas markets are software companies from India, Vietnam and Indonesia. To ensure superior customer experience and improve customer retention, we have appointed skilled managers with proven records of overseas experience. This sets us apart from our rivals in many markets.”
During the interview, Cho Zin Wint conceded that local ICT companies including MHS could be negatively impacted by the opening of Myanmar’s economy.
“As the economy expands,  international technology companies would try to establish a foothold in the country. They may offer wages above the market rate to attract skilled technicians. It could become a big challenge for us,” she said.
“Currently,  our pay for a skilled technicians is almost on  par with that of a foreign company. We have to ensure our growth targets are met. Otherwise, it will be hard for us to compete with the international players in the long run.”
Yet, Cho Zin Wint believes that Myanmar technicians are talented in software development, keeping abreast of the latest technologies and  creating highquality products with astounding creativity.
According to the executive, the company will also focus on providing a full range of technology services to corporates in Myanmar.
“While we strive to expand our overseas business, we will also intensify our efforts to attract big companies in the country. We know perfectly well that big companies can invest a fortune in technology. However,  they tend to work with foreign tech companies. So, we will prove to them that local technicians can do the same thing just as well [as foreign ones].”
To this end, the company will conduct a training programme for local technicians to improve their technical and professional skills. The programme aims at grooming local talents and creating more jobs in the software industry.
“We aim to inspire people and facilitate businesses. In the tech industry, many areas are still untouched. I have no doubt that you will be seeing many more successful locally-owned tech companies in Myanmar in the near future. We are eager to set the trend,” she said.