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Business

Hitachi looks to expand infrastructure business in Myanmar

Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi.

NAYPYIDAW -- Hitachi seeks to utilize its proprietary technologies in IT and other areas to help modernize Myanmar's infrastructure beyond just the aging rail lines, the chairman of the Japanese conglomerate told The Nikkei during a visit to the Myanmar capital.

Much of Myanmar's railways date back to the British colonial era and the country has been slow in switching to electric trains. In May of last year, Hitachi won an order from the state-owned rail company to install a signal system around Yangon, the largest city.

"On top of the electrification of the rail system, we will present proposals to the government, including a comprehensive plan to develop the transportation infrastructure," Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi said on Tuesday.

Hitachi is also looking to build Myanmar's map database, according to Nakanishi. Not only are the maps created by the government imperfect, maps differ across government agencies -- among other shortcomings -- which impedes administrative action.  

Hitachi has been sounding out the government over creating a database using the global positioning system and other technology. "It will provide a launching pad for resource exploration, disaster prevention, flood control and other related operations across a wide spectrum," said Nakanishi.

In addition, Hitachi is positioning the digitalization of the financial system and harbor infrastructure as promising business areas. On Tuesday, the company announced it is partnering with the Japan Post group to digitize the money-order service operated by Myanmar Post.  

Hitachi has a long history in Myanmar, including orders for power generating equipment in 1958 for one of the biggest hydroelectric plants in the country. For fiscal 2020, the Japanese company plans to expand operations in Myanmar including information technology to approximately 30 billion yen ($295 million), or five times the amount in fiscal 2015.

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