Mainboard-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings has entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Mitsubishi Corp to distribute Japanese cars in Myanmar, it said yesterday.
The joint venture company, MM Cars Myanmar, will be responsible for the wholesale distribution, retail sales, after-sales services and maintenance services of Mitsubishi cars and spare parts in the country. It will also take over the running of two Mitsubishi Motors after-sales service centres set up in Myanmar in 2013 and being operated by Yoma.
The joint venture will also operate the first Mitsubishi Motors showroom in Yangon, which opened on Tuesday.
Yoma Strategic chief executive Melvyn Pun said in a statement that the joint venture with Mitsubishi formalises the two firms' collaboration in developing the Mitsubishi Motors business in Myanmar over the past year.
"Our automotive segment is experiencing strong growth, and we are confident that the Mitsubishi Motors business will contribute meaningfully in the medium term," he said.
Yoma said that since the Myanmar government announced a relaxation of vehicle import regulations in 2011 as a part of its "democratisation" policy, the number of used vehicles from Japan has seen a notable increase.
Myanmar was the No. 1 destination for used vehicles from Japan last year.
Import regulations for new vehicles have also been gradually eased since 2012, with the Myanmar government announcing the approval of new vehicle imports and sales by joint ventures established between Myanmar and foreign companies, the company said.
These developments are expected to generate further growth in the Myanmar vehicle market, it added.
Yoma Strategic already has several partnerships with Mitsubishi, including an elevator-related business, a tyre business and the operation of the Mandalay International Airport. Yoma also has real estate, consumer, automotive, agriculture and logistic and tourism businesses in Myanmar.
Together with its partner, the SPA Group, Yoma said it is taking a "conglomerate approach" to build a diversified portfolio of businesses in Myanmar.