Facing boycotts, Myanmar junta-run company boosted production of lesser-known Red & Blue cigarettes

Manufactured by the junta-run conglomerate MEHL, Red & Blue cigarettes are less commonly boycotted than other brands because fewer consumers know about their connection to the military

The Myanmar military-owned megacorporation Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) has dramatically increased the production of one of its cigarette brands since 2022 in a possible bid to dodge boycotts. 

Few consumers boycott the Red & Blue cigarette brand as compared with other military-owned brands because it is not widely known that MEHL has a role in making them. 

Myanmar Now’s investigations found that MEHL was party to a cigarette-producing joint venture along with the Yangon-based company Golden Hill International, Ltd. since before the 2021 military coup. As of 2020, the date of leaked business registry records shown to Myanmar Now, the joint venture operated under the name Myawaddy and Golden Hill International Ltd.

The quantity of Red & Blue cigarettes produced has increased fifteenfold since 2022, after consumers and activists opposed to the coup organised boycotts of the two better-known military-owned. . .

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