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Myanmar Whisky Looks West
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The Asian business frontier is enough to make business development folks to foam at the mouth. The huge, nearly untapped market has a ton of potential for revenue, growth, and expansion. It is harder than people think it is to penetrate such markets. In many cases, country regulations dictate that outside businesses must have a local business partner that is guaranteed a certain percentage of total revenue. Other cases require businesses to go over several hurdles, making it look more costly than profitable.

And sometimes it's our home country that prohibits the business.

For example, Myanmar-based International Beverage Trading Company (IBTC) has just been given the go-ahead to trade with European-based businesses because its government finally released political prisoners, causing the European-sanctions to be lifted. And what a splash the IBTC is trying to make.

Its first major deal is pairing up with current Premier League leader and Champions League winning Chelsea FC with its whisky brand, Grand Royal. The deal will run for at least two seasons, and it marks the first deal a Myanmar-based company has made with a Western brand. It is also the first time the football club has signed with a whisky brand.

The deal involves Chelsea going to Myanmar for a country tour during the pre-season, and IBTC being able to pair the club's brand with its whisky inside the country.

The deal was done by sports agency Sports Revolution. The article says that football clubs have been trying to connect more with the Asian market; a market, says Sports Revolution, that includes a Premier League fan base of 1.2 billion people. 

It's that Chelsea is one of the first clubs to take the dive. Its former star striker, Didier Drogba, recently signed with one of the star clubs in China.

Will this deal start the deluge of sponsorships and advertising deals with East and West businesses? Let's hope so.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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