Bangladesh on way to be a gadget-making hub
The availability of workforce at a competitive wage, growing domestic market demand and a favourable policy are some of the key factors that make Bangladesh an attractive hub for high-tech manufacturing, according to a survey.
In its report, International Data Corporation (IDC) found success stories of local and international manufacturing companies, such as Walton and Samsung.
Global tech leader Samsung has started producing mobile phones in Bangladesh following in the footsteps of three local firms—Walton, Aamra Companies and Symphony—and a China-Bangladesh joint venture, Transsion Holdings, it said in the report.
The Singapore-based firm also showed evidence of the support provided by the government in driving the growth of the high-tech industry in Bangladesh.
The government has reduced duties on import of raw materials for the tech industry, exempted 100 percent value added tax on rents along with providing cash incentives and 100 percent tax discounts, it said.
“Population is the main strength of Bangladesh, home to around 80 million people under 25 years of age,” according to the IDC report launched yesterday.
Gadgets and laptops worth around $1.5 billion are sold in the country every year; about 34 million mobile handsets worth $1.18 billion and laptops worth $300 million were sold last year, IDC found.
The youths are giving a boost to the sector, where the gadget and laptop market is growing at around 12-20 percent every year, said Zarif Munir, partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.
The officials of the group presented the findings of the report as one of the partners of the survey, at a programme held in the ICT Division in Dhaka.
The IDC is a premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecom and consumer technology markets.
Local companies are not lagging behind foreign peers. Walton has already completed production and shipment of laptops to Nepal, a major stride for a Bangladeshi company, the IDC report said.
Huawei Technologies, the largest telecom equipment maker based in China, has been investing to provide high-quality ICT infrastructure and network enhancement services in Bangladesh, the report reads. Another Chinese giant, Xiaomi, also plans to set up a plant in Bangladesh in the next two years, the IDC said.
“We have a huge local market and scopes are there to export tech products to the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and even India's seven-sister states,” Mustafa Jabbar, telecom and ICT minister, said at the report launching ceremony.
He said the government is developing 28 high-tech parks, all of which would be ready for use in the next two years.
“Some of the parks have already started manufacturing and exporting different ICT products.” Smartphone penetration in Bangladesh stands at about 30 percent now and will hit 80 percent in the next few years, he said.
The government is giving tax holiday and cash incentive to assemblers with high quality infrastructure support and now seeking global leaders' investments, said Zuena Aziz, secretary to the ICT Division.
“Some developed nations, including China, are shutting down gadget plants due to the rising cost of production,” said Rezwanul Haque, CEO of Transsion Bangladesh and the former general secretary of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association.
The government has developed 79 economic zones spanning over 30,000 hectares and foreign companies will get all-out support if they want to invest in Bangladesh, said Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.