It’s Boom Time!
That’s what Peter Morrow, CEO of Khaan Bank, claims about Ulaanbaatar’s retail sector, according to the UB Post. Morrow reports that, in 2000, the State Department Store was just a series of vegetable and meat stalls, while today, it is a thriving department store with high-end goods. If Mongolia’s mining sector takes off, the rest of UB’s retail business could follow suit.
Investors are worried, though, in the light of recent unrest and the slow progress of mining in the nation. Next month, they will have an opportunity to address these issues at an economic forum in UB. Morrow insists that Mongolia is absolutely a good, stable place to invest.
Mongolia’s GDP grew by at least 9 or 10 percent last year, as they begin to exploit the resources that Russia controlled for so long. The strong economy, proximity to China, and an ambitious promotion of tourism has put Mongolia on the business map, and international corporations are being drawn to UB. The fact that the nation is a late bloomer economically means that they have avoided some of the chaos currently plaguing the world market, such as the mortgage-backed securities that have played havoc with the U.S. economy.
Still, Mongolia has some obstacles to address. First, there needs to be a clear sign from the government that they are ready to sign off on some new mining projects, something they’ve only done once in their 20-year independence. Second, the nation needs to convince investors that the July 1 unrest was an isolated incident and that the new government is ready to move forward. So far the Democratic Party has been able to stall the installation of the new Parliament, but Morrow and other investors are hopeful that this can be accomplished by next month.
Morrow will be among those presenting at the economic forum, addressing these issues as well as environmental, legislative, and international trade concerns. Morrow is confident, though, that UB is a showplace that will convice investors by itself. “You can see the great vibrancy, the excitement of what’s happening here,” he says. Probably nothing earth-shattering will come out of this forum, but it will hopefully open international eyes to the great potential for investment in Mongolia.