A woman counts Myanmar kyats at a money changer in Yangon, May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Myanmar will have its own stock exchange soon, according to the country’s deputy minister for finance and revenue, Maung Maung Thein. Preparations and implementations for the market are already underway.

“Earlier we planned to begin in 2015, but it would be too late. So, we are beginning this year,” said Thein, according to Mizzima, a Myanmar news portal based in India.

To establish the stock exchange, the Central Bank of Myanmar is cooperating with the Daiwa Institute of Research Group, a leading Japanese think tank with expertise in economics and financial capital markets, and Japan’s Tokyo Stock Exchange. Later this month, there will be a demonstration of the operation of the stock exchange with the help of a Myanmar information technology company, Thein said.

A “Security Exchange Law” has been introduced to the lower house of parliament, Thein added. Shortly after the bill is approved, the stock exchange will be established.

A relevant committee has also been formed in order to ensure a smooth launch for the exchange.

“Myanmar needs a huge market to attract financial investments,” said Thein. “Myanmar did not have that market. To establish that market [stock exchange], we have prepared for many years.”

The legal establishment of a stock market is only the first step in creating an authentically liquid equity market in the nation.

“It’ll be surprising if the stock exchange can be established in late this year,” said Hla Maung, an economist. “The sooner the better. But it is a financial market, so we need to have public companies and corporations that can sell shares. If not, the market will be weak and unsuccessful.”

Public companies that wish to be listed in Myanmar’s stock exchange will need to submit applications to the supervising committee. However, experts said this may prove a big challenge for existing Myanmar companies, as they struggle to deal with problems related to taxes.

The stock exchange will be located near Bandoola Garden, where Myawaddy Bank currently stands. The building formerly owned by the Finance and Revenue Ministry is due to be returned to them later this year, according to Mizzima.

It was announced earlier that Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502) has won an order from Daiwa to supply the data center for the Myanmar stock exchange. The company has had a long and successful history in Myanmar, Mizzima reported.

Hidejiro Shimomitsu, corporate senior vice president of Toshiba, said the company's home appliance business in Myanmar started in the 1980s. Its washing machines are still the most popular brand in Myanmar.

Toshiba launched a branch office in Yangon on July 3, according to Mizzima.

Myanmar’s neighbors, Cambodia and Laos, two of the poorest countries in the region, launched their stock exchanges two years ago, but neither market is seeing much activity. The Lao Securities Exchanges has only two listed companies, while the Cambodia Securities Exchange has only one.