State of Internet in Myanmar

As a Burmese who is online all the time, I can’t help but notice certain trends in Burmese people who are using online. I want to revisit this topic later when Myanmar has access to high speed broadband internet but here are some of my thoughts.

Are Burmese people using Internet efficiently?

When I say efficiently, I mean using Internet to its full capability, reading emails, using google to find information, social networking and working etc. I am talking about this because I recently read an article from “Quartz saying millions of Facebook users have no idea they are using Internet” and Myanmar is one of the countries mentioned.

In Myanmar, Facebook is the front page of Internet, not Google.

If users want to search for local businesses or restaurants, they search on Facebook rather than Googling it. I am not even sure if this is even the common term “Googling it” in Myanmar.

So it is a must for a local business owner to have a Facebook page rather than say having a website or address on Google map.

People don’t use email (like gmail, hotmail) or IMs (Hangouts, Skype) for personal communication but instead they use mobile messaging platform apps such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp or Viber.

People expect businesses to respond to their queries fast because they are commenting, messaging businesses directly on Facebook rather than emailing for example.

Brands have to be very aware of what they do on social media and have to keep active social listening because 80–90 percent of their users are always online on Facebook and if something went wrong, it can go wrong horribly.

Also, a lot of people are using mobile more than desktop/ laptop and the speed is not that good so they don’t want to click a link to read an article. They will prefer if a news site or publisher site posts the whole article on Facebook rather than linking it back to the site. Bad for publishers’ business in the long term because they cannot pull users away from Facebook to come to their websites.

Myanmar is also probably one of the countries where there is a minister breaking news on Facebook rather than publishing on news site or official sites. Even have nick-named Facebook minister.

Language is another problem. Zawgyi is the unicode most of the users use but it is not up to standard Unicode standard so it doesn’t support universally (you cannot see it on every device without installing it, you cannot search on search engines, you cannot use Google Translate or Facebook Translate services with it). There is standard Myanmar Unicode font but not a lot of people use it. So if you have a Facebook page and you want to reach to all users, you have to post with two types of Unicode, Zawgyi and Unicode so that all users can read.

Please share your thoughts as well. This is to be continued.

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zinkohlaing Written by:

Hi, I am Zin Ko Hlaing. I'm a big fan of Manchester United and I occassionally write here. Full time Football Manager player, part time trying to understand Internet.

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