Thai battery manufacturer Siam GS Battery this week began operations at its newly built starter battery plant in Myanmar.

The US$10m facility, located in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone just outside Myanmar's main business city Yangon, has an initial annual production capacity of 76,000 maintenance free vehicle starter batteries per year.

Siam GS Battery, a subsidiary of Japan's GS Yuasa Corporation with Thailand's Siam Motors owning a 40% stake, said the new facility is looking to supply replacement batteries for Myanmar's growing vehicle fleet which was estimated at around 630,000 units at the end of 2018 - more than double 2011 levels.

Siam GS Battery Myanmar was granted a number of investment incentives by the Myanmar government for its investment including a five year corporate tax holiday, import duty waivers for machinery and a 50 year land lease with a 25 year renewal option.

The plant has recruited 31 local workers to start but expects this to increase as battery replacement demand rises in the country.

The company said only 20% of the country's vehicle fleet has maintenance free batteries so it needs to educate the local market about the benefits of its products.

Siam GS Battery Myanmar ultimately is targeting a 50% share of the local market and is also looking to supply original equipment batteries to the local assembly operations of Nissan, Suzuki, Ford, Hyundai and Toyota in the future.

The company said Suzuki accounts for a largest share of local vehicle sales with market share estimated at around 60%.

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