Myanmar: The Rise of the Medical Aesthetics Business

Myanmar: In a recent article published by The Myanmar Times, it was reported that the beauty business in Myanmar is witnessing an unprecedented rise. With brands like Sephora and L’Oreal having a presence in Myanmar, there appears to be an awakening for beauty products, services and standards.

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Dr Hnin Leh Khin, founder of My Aura Aesthetic Clinic, first noticed the growing number of local women with rosier lips, thicker lashes and bolder eyebrows in 2012, when make-up went mainstream in Myanmar.

“That’s when I knew that beauty would be big business in this country and decided that I wanted to build my career in aesthetics,” she told The Myanmar Times.

Dr Hnin Leh Khin and Dr Thiha Tun Tun at My Aura Aesthetic Clinic on Parami Road. Photo- Shin Moe Myint, Myanmar Times
Dr Hnin Leh Khin and Dr Thiha Tun Tun at My Aura Aesthetic Clinic on Parami Road. Photo- Shin Moe Myint, Myanmar Times

Competitive Landscape

Dr. Hnin and Dr. Thiha are betting on the rise of the middle class. According to Dr Hnin, they are seeing about 180 patients per month. She is also aware of about 40 to 50 clinics who are operating in the (medical) aesthetics space. The rise of the middle class has definitely fuelled the demand and upward trend of medical aesthetics.

“Competition in this business will definitely rise, but we are never worried of there being a shortage of demand. Whichever way the market evolves, every Asian will still want to look beautiful.”

A look at the only Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospital, Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospital (PHSH), in Myanmar, it is not difficult to see that they are staffed with foreign doctors such as Prof. Roberto Roddi and Dr. Kim Bom Jin at their Aesthetic, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department. Over at their Dermatology department where it is housed in the Bogyoke Aung San Clinic, located in the neighbourhood of the Yangon Central station, they have visiting specialists from Myanmar who also received relevant training in Japan.

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Continued Growth in the Medical Aesthetics Business

There is still a lot of room for growth for the medical aesthetics business in Myanmar. With a population of about 53 million, people likely to live longer, and the rise of the middle class supported by more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and fiscal initiatives, the medical aesthetics business is expected to grow alongside Myanmar’s growth.

Disclaimer: The WorldBank reports that (public) healthcare spending per capita is only at $103 in 2014, or equivalent to 2.3% of GDP.

As foreigners are not allowed to practise in Myanmar, except if they are registered with the local health authority, several foreign investors have already voiced their strategic interests. Dr Thiha Tun remarked that about 20% of the clinics in Myanmar are now owned by business owners from Thailand and South Korea. He added that they are also looking to expand and set up branches in Yangon or Mandalay in the near future. Partnerships and collaboration with foreign entities are likely to be a common scene in the days to come.

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