Tay Za

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Tay Za
Native name တေဇ
Born (1964-07-18) 18 July 1964 (age 52)
Rangoon, Burma
Nationality Burmese
Other names Tayza, Teza
Occupation Chairman, Htoo Group of Companies
Title Thiri Pyanchi
Spouse(s) Thida Zaw
Children Pye Phyo Tay Za[1]
Htet Tay Za
Rachael Tay Za
Parent(s) Ohn (mother)
Myint Swe (father)
Relatives Thiha (brother)

Tay Za (IPA: [tèza̰]; Burmese: တေဇ, pronounced: [tèza̰]; also spelled Tayza or Teza; born 18 July 1964, is a Myanmar Business Tycoon and the Chairman of Htoo Group of Companies, Myanmar. He is a close associate of the country's former head of state, Than Shwe. He is the first Myanmar entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes Asia.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

He was born on 18 July 1964 in Yangon. His father, Myint Swe, is a retired lieutenant colonel working for the Ministry of Industry.[2] He is the youngest of six siblings. He passed 10th standard at TTC of Yangon in 1982. He attended the Defence Services Academy, as part of the 1982 intake, but dropped out during his third year to marry Thida Zaw (daughter of U Zaw and Daw Htoo of Gyobingauk), against the wishes of both families.[2]

Business holdings[edit]

His major business interests include Htoo Group and Air Bagan, the country's first and only fully privately owned airline.[3] In 2006–2007, Htoo Trading, a division of Htoo Holdings involved in teak log exports, was Burma's top private exporter and fifth largest overall, with gross revenues of $65.1 million.[4] He began his career in the 1980s and started Htoo Group in the early 1990s to extract timber from Burma's forests.[5]

Other activities include construction, tourism, infrastructure projects, and mobile phone services. He enters into banking business and sets up Asia Green Development Bank when a license was granted by military junta in 2010 before giving up its power after general election.[6] His bank was sanctioned by US Government soon after it was established. But it was removed from sanction list in 2013.[7]

He was an arms broker for ex-military regime, helping to buy military hardware from Russia.[8]

Tay Za's airline Air Bagan is the main sponsor of Yangon United Football Club, one of the nine professional football clubs in Myanmar competing for the Myanmar National League (MNL) title. His son is chairman of the club.


In 2007, following protests against the junta on the streets of many cities in Burma, the United States government imposed sanctions against Tay Za and the companies he controls, including Htoo Trading and Air Bagan.[9][10]

On 19 May 2010, his son, Pye Phyo Tay Za, lost a legal battle to overturn European Union sanctions against him at the Council of the European Union.[11] In March 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that Pye Phyo Tay Za be allowed to regain access to his accounts in Europe, as he had testified that he was not at all connected to his father's business interests.[12]

On 7 October 2016, the United States Department of the Treasury implemented termination of the Burma Sanctions Program[13] in accordance with the Executive Order issued on the same date by the U.S President Barack Obama,[14] which effectively removed Tay Za, along with other Business Tycoons from OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals list.


Forbes noted that "[Tay Za] has a reputation as a generous boss who instills loyalty in 40,000 full-time staffers. Hundreds of employees have gone overseas to study, including Burma’s first female pilot, and perks quickly accrue to hardworking managers." [2]

Charity work[edit]

Tay Za established Htoo Foundation on 5 May 2008, right after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady Region and along with his group of companies provided emergency relief supplies to the survivors in Bogalay Township, spending over US$8.00 million for the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, monasteries and government offices in the area.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b "CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK". Her Majesty's Treasury. UK Government. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Montlake, Simon (28 September 2011). "Burma's Showy Crony". Forbes. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Money Men". The Irrawaddy. September 2008. Archived from the original on February 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Ye Lwin and Kyaw Thu (4–10 June 2007). "Govt dominates foreign trade as gas sales pump up exports". The Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ "How sanctions made Burma's richest man". Financial Times. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Four Businessmen Granted Private Bank License". http://www2.irrawaddy.org. (31 May 2010). Retrieved 16 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  7. ^ "Burma Sanctions". http://www.treasury.gov. U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 16 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Yan Pai (21 November 2013). "Burma and Russia to Increase Military Cooperation". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Executive Order: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Burma
  10. ^ "HP-807: Treasury Action Targets Financial Network of Burmese Tycoon and Regime Henchman Tay Za". US Department of Treasury. 2008-02-05. 
  11. ^ Roughneen, Simon (8 July 2010). "EU Sanctions on Tay Za's Son Upheld". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Dotinga, William (13 March 2012). "Myanmar Man Regains Access to Frozen Funds". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "TREASURY IMPLEMENTS TERMINATION OF BURMA SANCTIONS PROGRAM" (PDF). 7 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "HTOO Foundation of HTOO Group of Companies". 5 May 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "HTOO Foundation Homepage". 5 May 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2016.