YANGON – Myanmar will get help from Japan to replace postboxes in three major cities with new designs that offer advertisement space to reform the nation’s aging postal system.
The project, which will also help finance the cost of building the new units, covers a total of 250 postboxes across the capital city of Naypyitaw and two commercial hubs, Yangon and Mandalay. The project was unveiled at a ceremony in Yangon on Tuesday.
Kham Aung, managing director of state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications, said that in line with its decision in 2013 to improve the quality of its postal service, it has been receiving technical assistance from Japan.
He said the project is expected to expand to all 1,381 post stations throughout Myanmar.
In April 2014, the countries signed a memorandum of understanding on postal service reform in cooperation with Japan Post Holdings Co., launching a program to upgrade from manual to digital operations and improve staff performance.
Kham Aung said the delivery time for express registered mail between the three cities was shortened from three to four days to just over one day, and the percentage of delivered mail rose from 87.8 percent to 99.3 percent within a year of the start of efforts to review collection and delivery routes.
Under a drive to improve social infrastructure with advertisements, proposed by Japan’s Advertising Agency Nagata Co., Myanmar will be able to cover the cost of renewing and maintaining postboxes by collecting fees for advertisements on billboards above them.
Takeshi Shiraishi, managing director of Nagata Myanmar Co., said the idea of advertising through corporate social responsibility programs will benefit both communities and business owners, and create a new business trend in Myanmar’s advertising industry which depends on conventional billboards and TV commercials.
“The advertisement fees for traditional ads like billboards and bus stands are expensive for local and small businesses,” Shiraishi said. “But, through our postbox ad space advertisements, they get a chance to promote their businesses and participate in their CSR programs at the same time.”
Shiraishi said the company has found advertisements for 80 percent of the postboxes and 90 percent of its customers are local businesses.
So far, the company has renewed about 100 out of 250 postboxes with the help of Tokyo-based Fuji Xerox Co., which has become its first advertising partner for the Myanmar project.