Can You Build Up A Telco Industry By Banning Google?

from the purposely-without-Google dept

Two separate stories about technology goings on in Myanmar raise some questions about building a tech industry in such countries. First, comes the news that the country has banned Google and any of its related services. Then comes the news that “telco authorities” in the country are trying to add 80,000 new mobile phones to the country in an effort to “enhance the development of the telecommunications sector.” That seems to raise the fairly obvious question: can you develop a serious telco sector if you’re out there banning useful online services like Google? Or do they view Google and its related services as an impediment to developing a homegrown telco industry?

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Comments on “Can You Build Up A Telco Industry By Banning Google?”

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Joe Smith says:


So anyone who wants to be the “Google” of Myanmar just needs to create a website “wrapper” for google – taking search requests and forwarding them to Google and then serving back the results (perhaps censored) together with Myanmar specific advertising.

Wait – maybe I should go and patent a business model.

Chris Miller says:

Burma Google or "Boogle"

Actually, I have traveled in Myanmar quite a bit and i have also conducted business in Myanmar. The Telco news story and Google news story really have nothing to do with each other. When I was there in 2002 they were launching the countries Intranet – it was hoped that this would be everything the Internet was without allowing their citizens to log into the rest of the world and become tainted by the west (or possibly know too much). The government in Myanmar has long been jealous of the prosperity Indian, Thai and Chinese neighbors . In the last decade they have naturally become very jealous of the Indian IT sector. One of the reasons for the intranet was to accelerated the learning curve in IT. The government was trying to walk the impossible fine line of sheltering their own people whilst competing in the knowledge economy. It is amazing, by the way, how many young teenage girls are carrying cell phones and shopping in malls compared to 10 years ago when most people didn’t even have a land line. In 2002 there were only 3 internet connections in the entire country ( I was one of the first people to log on to the Internet back in 2000.

Will there be a Google in Myanmar – likely not anytime soon,but the government has already taken many initiatives to prosper. So they are really a rogue state in transition. They will have to eventually open up their information borders just as Japan had to open their borders in 1542AD.

In Myanmar, there actually is no McDonalds. Instead, they have a knock-off called Mac Burger. They also have a knock-off for Pepsi called Star Cola. It is actually made in a former Pepsi plant. Pepsi had to pull out because of college protests – long story.

I suspect there will be a My-oogle or a Boogle instead of a Google for a while until the regime decides it is time to open up – but this has nothing to do with the telco decision to have more cell phones in the country.

Tyshaun says:


Let’s all remember that Google isn’t the only player, it’s one of many. I imagine that because it’s currently the frontrunner its the government target, but it wouldn’t take much to replace google with some other service I would think

(I remember 3 or 4 years ago when google was still the up and coming thing, now its the industry standard)

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