Source of wealth: Shwe Than Lwin Group
Address: No.262, Yazardiyit Housing Compound, Lower Pazundaung Rd, Botataung Tsp, YANGON
Business: Broadcasting, Construction, Real Estate Developer, Hotels, Banking, Agribusiness, Cement, Tyre Agent, Finance, Airline, Mining, Bus Transportation, Education Services, Cement, Sugar Milling, Marine Products Processing Plant and Cold Storage, High-Way Construction
Sino-Myanmar businessman Kyaw Win formed Shwe Than Lwin Group of Companies, including the well-known Sky Net TV station. His business covers almost every aspect of life in Myanmar, from entertainment to telecommunication, real estate to construction, banking and transportation.
“Through the strategic affiliation with CNN, we are giving Channel One the very best chance to succeed by delivering a first–class service that gives the people of Myanmar.”
Business magnate Kyaw Win (also known as Shwe Than Lwin Kyaw Win) chairs Shwe Than Lwin Group of Companies and its more than 20 subsidiaries, including Global Telephone, Than Lwin Ayeyar Gems, and Sky Net TV station.
Kyaw Win started his first trading company in 1992, importing vehicles from Japan, batteries, tires, cement, steel and other raw materials. After setting up Shwe Than Lwin, he diversified his business interests, establishing close relations with Myanmar’s junta government. His business empire spans almost every part of Myanmar’s economy, comprising a wide array of industries including construction, agriculture, mining, services, entertainment, machinery, gems, engineering, transportation, media and banking.
Kyaw Win ranks among the elite that actively served the interests of Myanmar’s military government, exploiting his links to the country’s military rulers to amass wealth. He is well-known for close ties with now-retired Gen. Kyaw Hsan, former President Office minister Soe Thein and other high-ranking officials. He was the subject of both European Union and Australian sanctions, until July 2012. His relation with the former regime has been instrumental to his success: for example, his company enjoyed an exclusive business relationship with the Ministry of Industry during the 2000s.
Kyaw Win also worked with several ethnic insurgent groups. Like Zaw Zaw, Tun Myint Naing (Steven Law), and Tay Za, Kyaw Win is also recognized for his efforts after the 2008 Cyclone Nargis. His company received various government tenders to reconstruct the Ayeyarwady delta region, including low-cost homes for refugees. Shwe Than Lwin Company is among the well-connected companies that were granted plantation concessions and large rubber concessions. His group is also among the few businesses with permits to import coconut cooking oil and is the sole distributor of tyres from state-owned Thanton Tire Industry in Mon State.
In 2012, when Minister Soe Thein headed Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), Kyaw Win’s group acquired manufacturing licenses for highly regulated products, such as cigarettes and beer. His group was awarded a three year tax exemption. Additionally, the government promised not deduct the usual 4% of the company’s total profit for
the next 5 years. He was also allowed to rent the government-owned Sittaung Paper Factory cheaply and was granted a rent waive for the first year.
In 2009, he ventured into media, establishing Shwe Than Lwin Media (known as ‘Sky Net Myanmar’), a strategic subsidiary of his group and a leading broadcast media business in Myanmar. The media business earned around K80 billion each year from advertising and subscriptions. Currently, Sky Net transmits over 120 channels with the majority being international Pay-TV channels such as CNN, CAN, VOA, NHK and all major football leagues. He has also supported the Democracy Today daily newspapers.
In 2010, he extended Shwe FM and started its Free-to-Air and Pay-TV under the brand name “Sky Net.” In 2011, the company launched MPS (Multi-Play Services). The US cable television giant CNN teamed up with Sky Net in 2016, to launch a 24-hour Burmese-language news network, “Channel One”.
In infrastructure, Shwe Than Lwin Group secured build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreements to build the Bago-Nyaunglaybin road (48 miles), Bayargyi-Mawlamyine road (128 miles) and Thaton-Hpa An road (25 miles) in Bago Region and Mon State. The group also received contracts to reconstruct military buildings at the Myanmar naval base on Hainggyi Island.
In 2014, Kyaw Win formed Shwe Rural and Urban Development Bank, a subsidiary of Shwe Thanlwin, and served as chairman of the bank a controversial move due to Section 66(e) of the Myanmar Financial Institutions Law (1990), which states that “the chairperson of a bank must work full-time and must not engage in any other paid jobs.” Complaints have been filed with parliament regarding Shwe Thanlwin’s failure to compensate farmers for the 1,375 acres of land he appropriated in Ywa Ngan Township, in southern Shan State. Kyaw Win has also been criticised for offering some Yangon regional members of Parliament free television subscriptions for five years.
In transport, his Myanmar Golden City Link company operated Golden Guest City Bus Network in Yangon with more than 100 CNG buses.
Japan-based ANA Holdings and Kyaw Win’s Golden Sky World agreed in 2016 on a joint venture to establish an international airline, ‘Asian Blue’. ANA holdings will have 49% ownership of the airline.