Serge Pun aka U Theim Wai
Source of wealth: Serge Pun & Associates (SPA) and First Myanmar Investments (FMI)
Address: No.380, 10th & 11th Floor, FMI Centre, Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Pabedan Tsp, YANGON
Business: Construction, Real Estate Developer, Hotels, Banking, Hospitals, Agribusiness, Cement, Automobile & Elevator Agent, Finance, Airline & Shipline
Serge Pun founded one of Myanmar’s largest and leading corporations, Serge Pun & Associates (SPA), subsequently becoming one of Myanmar’s top residential developers and among its richest men. He is widely known as the ‘go-to man’ for foreign companies seeking business partners in Myanmar.
“We have a government that is very pro-business. Where they might be lacking a bit is the ability to map out a high-level strategy, and do things step-by-step towards a goal.”
Serge Pun (also known as U Theim Wai) is popular for his ability to work with foreign entrepreneurs looking for partners in Myanmar. He is particularly known for his ability to unlock the value of prize assets. He is a renowned residential developer and ranks
among the country’s richest men.
As an ethnic Chinese living in Myanmar, Serge Pun is not only an insider but also a curious outlier. Although a Yangon native by birth, he lived most of his early years in China, during a time when the country was undergoing a cultural revolution. At 21, he settled in Hong Kong where he immediately started a salesman career at a real estate firm. After working for ten years, he established his first business conglomerate in 1983. Around 1991, Serge Pun returned to Myanmar and established Serge Pun & Associates (Myanmar), which is currently the country’s largest corporation. In 1992, he established one the earliest public companies in Myanmar, named First Myanmar Investment (FMI). Today, he leads the SPA Group of Companies as executive chairperson. The group comprises 40 companies that operate in eight business sectors: real estate development; healthcare; aviation; consumer services; luxury travel and tourism; agriculture and logistics; automotive; and banking and financial services.
Serge Pun served as Chief Executive Officer of Yoma Strategic Holdings (also known as Yoma Strategic Investments, ‘YSIL’). Recently, Yoma Strategic joined Yum Brands to establish a KFC franchise across Myanmar. The company opened the very first KFC franchise in 2015, in downtown Yangon.
With his strong connections to Myanmar, Serge Pun was one of the economic beneficiaries of the new government. In March 2016, his FMI was listed in Yangon Stock exchange. He acquired his wealth from Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings which operates in Myanmar within and beyond the real estate sector. The company has 5 KFC outlets, as well as rights to import and distribute Volkswagen cars in Myanmar.
Serge Pun has also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Sea View Hotel. Since August 2006. Between August 2004 and 2007, Serge Pun worked for International Enterprise Singapore, as an Honorary Business Representative for Myanmar.
SPA employs over 7,200 people directly in the group and its affiliates, plus thousands more indirectly working as contractors in SPA developments. The company serves shareholders and investors in its many investment projects and companies. Its foreign business partners comprise multinational corporations and multilateral organisations, including Jebsen and Jessen, Case New Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Estate, Mitsubishi Motors, Sumitomo Corporation, Lippo Group and Yum!.
In May 2015, Serge Pun’s son (Melvyn Pun) took over as chief executive of Yoma Strategic Holdings, as the firm continues to diversify from real estate. He previously worked for US investment bank Goldman Sachs. Yoma has highlighted its efforts to diversify from real estate while noting the factors affecting property sales.
As an entrepreneur in real estate, Serge Pun is recognised for the acclaimed Star City in Myanmar. The project won the Best Landscape Architectural Design award and Highly Commended honors during the inaugural Myanmar Property Awards 2015. During the 2016 Myanmar Property Awards, Yoma was nominated in two categories (Best Housing Development and Best Condo Development). In 2016, editors at one of Asia’s top architecture and design magazine, Property Report, named him Real Estate Personality of the Year and awarded his efforts in developing Myanmar’s real estate sector. Serge Pun has participated in several in ternational forums in the capacity of panelist or guest speaker, on subjects touching on China, ASEAN and Myanmar. In 1999, he received an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Administration during graduation at the Southern California University.
In the Forbes Asia August 2013 edition, Serge Pun (valued at US$500 million net worth) ranked #38 on a list of Singapore’s Richest 50.
During celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Serge Pun was among the 65 people selected to feature as outstanding Overseas Chinese Model in a series of commemorative postage stamps.
Presently, Serge Pun sits on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Transparency and Anti‐Corruption as well as on the Asia Business Council. He is currently a standing member for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Dalian.
In June 2015, Serge Pun said during an interview, “We have a government that is very pro-business. Where they might be lacking a bit is the ability to map out a high-level strategy, and do things step-by-step towards a goal.”