KMA Group to invest US$63 million in six Centara resorts and hotels in Myanmar

KMA Group - Centara

KMA Group - Centara

17/5/2019 – Thailand’s leading hotel chain Centara International Management Co. Ltd has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with local conglomerate Kaung Myanmar Association Group of Companies (KMA group).

The deal will see KMA Group pouring US$63 million in the development and renovation of six hotels located in Myanmar major cities, whereas Centara International Management will be in charge as the operator.

Work on the project is expected to begin this year and three new hotels will be built in Bagan and Than Daung while three existing KMA hotels in Inle, Nay Pyi Taw, and Taungoo to Centara will be renovated and reopened with the new branding.

Among the six hotels, Centara Paradise Inle Resort and Spa in Inle, Nyaungshwe Township, Shan state is slated to open by the end of this year.

All six hotels will operate under the upscale Centara and upper scale Centara Boutique Collection brands, marking Centara’s entry into one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism markets and enable the company to secure a major Myanmar foothold.

“Our partnership with KMA Hotels represents a significant milestone for Centara,” said Thirayuth Chirahviat, Centara’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We are looking forward to contributing to Myanmar’s development while providing travelers with more options to enjoy our Thai-inspired, international standard of hospitality across a variety of destinations.”

Centara International Management, that operates under Centara Hotels & Resorts, currently provides hotel management services, in addition to owning and operating hotels and resorts in Thailand under the Centara brand.

Centara’s portfolio includes 63 properties spanning across major Thai destinations plus the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Oman, and Qatar.

On the other hand, KMA Group with its headquarters in Yangon has operations across sectors including construction, real estate, tourism, agriculture, and shipping among others.

Currently, KMA Group operates eight hotels and resorts established across the country, some of which will be rebranded under ”Centara”.

On a similar development, Kaung Myanmar Aung Tourism Co Ltd that operates under KMA Group, in partnership with KZX Group (HK) Limited, will be developing a project in Mrauk U, a town well-known for its archaeological site in the northern Rakhine state.

Meanwhile, the group is also slated to undertake development in the agriculture sector.

Singapore Based Travellers E-Wallet Startup YouTrip Raises US$25.5M In Pre-Series A Funding

YouTrip 2

YouTrip 1

16/5/2019 – Singapore’s fintech startup YouTrip announced today that it has secured US25.5M in pre-series A funding, the largest funding round for a fintech company in Southeast Asia region.

The funding round was led by Insignia Ventures Partners, a venture capital firm focusing on seed and early-stage ventures in the region. Also joining the funding round are unnamed major Asian family offices and angels, a slightly unorthodox move.

Caecilia Chu, CEO, and co-founder of YouTrip explained that the family offices “have deep roots in Asia, are really motivated and want to invest in our kind of business.”

YouTrip claims to be the first multi-currency travel wallet in Singapore with a linked physical Mastercard. Users will have access to in-app currency exchange service for 10 currencies and overseas payment service for 150+ currencies using the complimentary Mastercard.

The startup offers zero transaction fees for overseas spending, as opposed to the bank-issued credit or debit cards that typically charges a transaction fee as high as 3.5%. Moreover, YouTrip users have the option to lock down competitive exchange rates whereas overseas purchase via credit cards could be issued a currency conversion markup as high as 5% or more.

Backed by the fresh funds, YouTrip is looking to invest heavily in its technology innovation for a better developed technical payment infrastructure and development of new product features.

YouTrip is looking to a Southeast Asian expansion in 1-2 new markets by the next 12 months. In-line with their regional expansion, YouTrip will be building a localized team and product fitting for each new market in order to mirror their demographics as well as understanding their unique needs.

Chu added: “As the regional travel industry continues to post robust growth, YouTrip recognizes the pain points of travelers and equally, the immense opportunity to better serve their financial needs. We are dedicated to creating the best mobile financial services for travelers by simplifying overseas spending and creating a fuss-free travel experience.”

The YouTrip app was first launched in Singapore last August. They teamed up with Singaporean electronic payment system provider and travel card issuer EZ-Link. Quickly gaining traction in the country, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times in Singapore since launch.