THOUGH the lack of stable automobile policies in Myanmar is holding back the potential for an auto boom, CarsDB.com, the nation’s largest automobile marketplace, is confident it will be able to maintain its annual two-fold growth in revenue, according to Wai Phyo Kyaw, co-founder and chief operating officer of the company.
“Since the past three years, we have been witnessing consistent 200-per-cent annual growth, and we believe it will continue in the next few years,” he said in an exclusive interview.
Wai Phyo Kyaw said urbanisation would drive the company’s growth in the long run, as the demand for passenger cars and industrial vehicles is increasing day by day.
“Given the slowdown in Myanmar’s economy, it is no wonder that we are not yet ready for an auto boom. But we are happy to see the demand for vehicles rising, though we do not have stable regulations for car imports in place,” he said.
According to the statistics, there are less than 1 million cars in Myanmar. This leads to much room for improvement in the nation’s auto industry. The executive sees it as a good opportunity to facilitate sales of both old and brand-new cars in the market where 54 million people reside.
With more than 10 million views for nearly 300,000 users on the website and mobile application every month, CarsDB has become the nation’s No 1 automobile portal. Currently, more than 10,000 cars are available for sale on the website, he said.
“Registered sellers usually showcase an average of 7,500 cars on our website every month. They usually manage to sell around 60 per cent of the cars within one month. We are very happy to see that a large number of cars were sold out in less than three days,” he said.
“We aim to facilitate sales of thousands of vehicles next year. So, we are now trying hard to make our current business units more efficient by building up our team. We will double our efforts to create a one-stop platform for the auto industry as a whole. In the next two or three years, our portal will be all-inclusive, offering both vehicles and parts.”
Launched in January 2012 as the first automobile portal in Myanmar, CarsDB provides an online platform for those who want to buy or sell passenger cars, commercial and industrial vehicles in major cities including Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Taunggyi, Dawei, Monywa, Mawlamyaing and Lashio. The company has offices in Yangon and Mandalay with a total of 55 employees.
The website lists both brand-new and used cars for sale from local car showrooms, individual dealers and private sellers. On top of car classifieds, the portal also offers auto news, car reviews and articles, tax-related information, motor directory and car parts and accessories marketplace.
“We are always trying to make searching your desired car as easy as possible. With detail information, description and photos of each car for sale, it is very easy and convenient for buyers to compare and the majority of the vehicles sold out are used cars, which represents the domination of middle-income people among the buyers. Sales usually rise in May and June while October and November are not very active. As the popularity of Japanese cars, particularly Toyota, Honda and Suzuki, is expected to continue over the next few years, the executive is also aware of the rise in buyers’ interest in high-end European and American-made cars.
“The demand for premium cars has increased since August. But, they account for less than 10 per cent of available vehicles on our website,” he said.
He said more than 90 per cent of the car showrooms across Myanmar enjoy the company’s premium service, which starts from as less as 100,000 kyats (Bt2,100) per month.
“Since the past five months, we have provided our full-fledged service, which mainly aims at auto showrooms. In this package, we provide better services for sellers including taking photos of the cars, writing good advertisements, inspection of the vehicles and facilitating enquiries,” he said.
Additionally, the company also facilitates insurance services, auto loans and organises auto shows as part of its core missions. It has occasionally held large-scale auto shows in Yangon since last year, and has planned for another mega-show in Yangon next month.
In order to expand its business, the company is currently negotiating with two groups of investors to raise funds. The company secured more than a million US dollars investment from a foreign investor in 2014, said Wai Phyo Kyaw.