SC Auto to set up $30m bus factory in Myanmar

SC Auto chairman Tan Siow Chua at the firm's Senoko Road premises. The bus maker's new facility in Yangon, Myanmar, will be its first foray overseas. Myanmar's demand for public transport, its proximity, land availability and low labour costs made it
SC Auto chairman Tan Siow Chua at the firm's Senoko Road premises. The bus maker's new facility in Yangon, Myanmar, will be its first foray overseas. Myanmar's demand for public transport, its proximity, land availability and low labour costs made it the right location for the venture, said Mr Tan.ST FILE PHOTO

Bus manufacturer SC Auto announced yesterday it is setting up a $30 million facility in Yangon, Myanmar, with support from International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, as it seeks further growth for its business.

The 16,000 sq m facility, slated to begin production in the fourth quarter of next year, will enable SC Auto to increase its production by four times, allowing it to meet the growing demands of both Myanmar and the region, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The announcement comes on the back of the 6th Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee meeting held last Thursday in Singapore. It marks SC Auto's first foray overseas after focusing its operations in Singapore for over 20 years, making it the first foreign bus manufacturer in Myanmar.

"Having built a strong foothold in Singapore, we needed to look overseas to continue to grow our business," said Mr Tan Siow Chua, chairman of SC Auto.

"With its demand for public transport, proximity to emerging South-east Asian countries, as well as availability of land and relatively lower labour costs, Myanmar is the ideal location for our first venture overseas."

The company, which has strong operations in Singapore, has already been exporting buses to Myanmar. The new in-market manufacturing facility will allow it to be closer to its customers and respond more quickly to their requirements, the company said.

It aims to produce over 100 buses in its first year in Myanmar and double its revenue.

SC Auto will also invest in robotic welding for this facility, yielding greater efficiency in the production process.

IE Singapore, a key partner in SC Auto's journey to develop its internationalisation strategy and operational plans, helped the company navigate Myanmar and familiarise it with the business landscape, understand market regulatory issues and connect with new customers.

SC Auto also tapped IE Singapore's Internationalisation Finance Scheme to support the set-up.

Mr Law Chung Ming, group director for transport and logistics, IE Singapore, said: "As the first approved foreign bus manufacturing company in Myanmar, SC Auto has the first-mover advantage to address the huge demand in the country."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline 'SC Auto to set up $30m bus factory in Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe