More than three years after the start of the Japan-backed Thilawa special economic zone, Myanmar launched the development of its second zone in the presence of dignitaries from both nations including Vice President Henry Van Thio. Set Aung, deputy governor of the Central Bank and chairman of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee, said that the existing 405 hectare of zone A would be supplemented by the first phase of the new zone, expanding 101 hectares to the south. He believes that the SEZ’s success has led to the expansion, given the arising interest from foreign investors. To date, the total investment in Thilawa SEZ has reached US$1.05 billion, as 78 firms from 16 nations have opted to locate their factories, production or logistics facilities there. According to Set Aung, 24 of them have started operations, and 77 per cent of the labour employed are from nearby townships (Thanlyin and Kyauk Tan) and had not completed basic education.