Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is scheduled to visit Myanmar also known as Burma after Western nations lift their sanctions against the country since it started implementing economic and political reforms, according to report from Reuters.
A quasi-civilian government is now governing Myanmar after decades of military dictatorship. Since the establishment of a new government, many foreign companies became highly interested in setting up their businesses in the country including Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
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In a statement, the search engine giant confirmed Schmidt’s trip to Myanmar. The company said, “Eric (Schmidt) is visiting several countries in Asia to connect with local partners and Googlers who are working to improve the lives of many millions of people across the region by helping them get online and access the world’s information for the first time in the next few years.”
According to Zaw Minn Oo, secretary general of Myanmar Computer Society, Schmidt will deliver a speech at the Myanmar Information and Communication Technology Park in Yangon on March 22. Oo said, “There will be an audience of about 400, comprising entrepreneurs, executive committee members of the computer association and young leaders.”
The executive chairman of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is also scheduled to meet Myanmar’s senior government officials. Schmidt is part of the delegation led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which aims to look for projects that would boost internet access, strengthen government transparency and to expand digital literacy.
Aside from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), representatives from Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are also part of the delegation.
Last month, the United States Treasury Department granted the four largest banks in Myanmar with a general licenses and at the same time 50 executives from the United States visited Myanmar to find opportunities. The four banks that received general licenses were controlled by business tycoons connected with the former military government.
Myanmar is the last country in Asia with untapped markets particularly the telecommunications industry. Its mobile penetration is estimated to only around 5 to 10 percent. Myanmar plan to modernize its telecom infrastructure provides opportunities for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) through its affordable smartphones powered by its Android operating system.
Last January, Schmidt visited North Korea along with former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson. Their visit to the country was personal and they urged the North Korean government to remove its existing restrictions to internet access.