UMG: A Bright Future Based on a History of Success
Since 1998, UMG has established itself as one of Myanmar’s leading companies. Its 51 local branches plus 10 oversea branches and over 3000 employees work across a multitude of sectors – including distribution, education, entertainment, financial services, food, healthcare , property and infrastructure development, resources and mining, and telecommunications and information technology – excelling in all of them.
Headquartered in Yangon, UMG started as a distributor, providing heavy machinery and spare parts to construction sites, factories and workshops, and quickly established itself as a national leader with over 50% of the market share. To this day, distribution still is UMG’s core business.
Facing the need for more qualified personnel, the company got involved in training and education.
"We always faced difficulties finding talent, so we decided in 2003 to create our own training center," says UMG’s CEO, Mr. Kiwi Aliwarga. "We train our people on a daily basis, and we believe in knowledge
In 2013, a decade after opening its training center, the group opened UMG College, which focuses on academic subjects and personal development. The college, which delivers BTEC qualifications in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering as well as other internationally recognized diplomas, is part of UMG’s commitment to helping the people of Myanmar.
“I do not put too much emphasis on the macroeconomics, the size of the GDP, the income of the country," Mr. Aliwarga says. “I will put more emphasis on the people’s livelihood, which is not only economic. I refer here to religion, better relationships, environment, and education."
The future is looking bright for Myanmar, as the country opens itself to the rest of the world. In the past five years, several noteworthy Burmese companies have expanded outside of the country, becoming regional leaders in the process. Meanwhile, the government has undertaken reforms to improve the investment climate and the ease of doing business.
“Hope is important, and economic measurements should come from the confidence business people have in the country right now—and we are indeed confident," says UMG’s CEO. “After half a century under military rule, we see investment coming in and the country opening up, but it will take more time."
But it’s more than just investment that has been coming into the country since it started opening up. In 2012, an estimated one million tourists visited the country—a number which rose to three million in 2015 and is expected to rise to seven million by 2020.
According to Mr. Aliwarga, tourism will be a significant source of income for both UMG and Myanmar as a whole.
“If we take into consideration leisure opportunities, food, hotels and low-cost transport I think in this sector, Myanmar can really shine," he says. “We have remarkable locations and a good young generation that are focused on this industry."
The ambitious and visionary CEO hopes to make UMG a billion-dollar company by 2020—and it’s already halfway there!