By PATRICK BARTA

For decades an isolated military dictatorship, Myanmar’s political reforms have heralded new opportunities for international businesses seeking emerging markets in which to expand. WSJ’s Patrick Barta reports. Photo: Christopher Davy for WSJ.

YANGON, Myanmar—For Tim Love, a vice chairman of advertising giant Omnicom Group, OMC -0.73%it was an opportunity too good to pass up: an entire country, off the map for most Western investors for decades, embracing foreign investment in a place with untapped energy resources and 60 million people.

Here was Myanmar, also known as Burma, with the wagons “going full speed,” says Mr. Love, and clients clamoring to get a foothold.

But doing business here is something of a challenge. As a former military state, Myanmar has minimal infrastructure for conducting international business. Most foreign cellphone plans don’t work there, and newcomers must carry a lot of cash because it is hard to get money. Mr. Love himself met with a local advertising firm whose website credits its founder with “the actual creation of Myanmar’s advertising industry.” How did he find the company? He typed “advertising in Myanmar” into the Internet.

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