Jens Michel, CEO of Metro Wholesale Myanmar Ltd., speaks with reporters in Yangon on March 8.
YANGON, NNA – German wholesale company Metro AG has begun e-commerce wholesale operations in Myanmar, focusing exclusively on online sales for corporate customers and building a fresh-food supply chain in the emerging economy.
The wholesaler has partnered with Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd., the Singapore listed arm of local conglomerate Serge Pun & Associates Group, to launch the service, Jens Michel, CEO of Metro Wholesale Myanmar Ltd., told reporters Friday.
“Digital technology is a driver of change, and as businesses and consumers rapidly adopt technology in this mobile-first country, we will be at the forefront to bring convenience and efficiency to customers and partners using our digital standards," he said.
The local unit was established in 2017 with capital investment of $10 million. Metro holds an 85 percent stake and Yoma the remainder. It has built a 5,800 square-meter warehouse in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone on the outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon.
The facility is equipped for cold chain operation for packaging and distribution and fresh-food processing, providing about 2,000 items such as raw, fresh and processed foods, as well as cooking utensils and tableware, he said.
Even before the official launch on Friday, about 300 customers, mostly from the country’s hospitality sector, had already accessed the online platform to place orders, Michel said. The local unit plans to increase the number of items to 2,400 by June.
Michel said the local unit aims to source 75 percent of goods locally through partnership with farmers and food suppliers in Myanmar.
Besides the facility in the Thilawa SEZ, Metro Wholesale Myanmar has a small logistic facility with cold storage in the eastern state of Shan, the largest food materials source for Metro, to enable it closely work with local farmers.
Myanmar is the 36th country in Metro’s international network and the first new market entry since 2010 for the wholesale giant. It will have about 150 employees in the country.
Founded in 1964 with the self-service cash and carry business concept, Metro now specializes in wholesale and food retailing to professional customers as well as offering services including delivery and logistics. It has 764 stores serving 24 million customers worldwide, according to the company’s website.
A Metro cold chain truck delivers food items to restaurants and hotels.