Many foreign lenders are competing to launch licensed operations in Myanmar, following completion of a recent bid round related to the entry of foreign banks in the country.

As reported in The Financial Times, Japan-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group are among strong contenders from Asian countries.

Despite sluggish economic development and retreat from foreign markets, many US and European banks including British Standard Chartered and Australia’s ANZ are also in the race to obtain the banking license.

A government official involved in the process was quoted by The Financial Times as saying that about two-thirds of the 42 banks that have representative offices in Myanmar – a condition for bidding for a licence – had pitched for a permit ahead of the July 14 deadline.

He declined to reveal the name of the institutions but said the government would accept between five and 10 initially.

"We welcome foreign banks to contribute to our economic and financial development, and we also welcome them to work together with our domestic banks," the government official told the publication.

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People familiar with the situation also disclosed that three Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Mizuho have also applied for the license.

All the banks, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Mizuho, StanChart and ANZ declined to comment on whether they were bidding or not.

As per the terms of the Myanmar banking licenses, overseas financial companies must bring in a minimum $75m of capital and are constrained initially to a single branch, offering only corporate and wholesale banking.