Symphony formally inaugurated its first mobile assembling plant in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka yesterday, the third in the country, for both local market and export.
Some 2.5 lakh handsets can be assembled a month running a single shift while double that utilising the plant's optimum capacity of two shifts.
Three kinds of cheap smartphones and a feature phone will initially be assembled and made available from October, Md Maksudur Rahman, senior director of Symphony Mobile, a sister concern of Edison Group, told The Daily Star.
“Within a few months our plant will run in full swing,” he added following the launch where Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar was the chief guest. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission's acting chairman Md Jahirul Islam was also present.
Symphony officials said they invested Tk 25 crore for the plant and plan to spend another Tk 75 crore on expansion.
The company will set up a second plant in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Gazipur's Kaliakoir within the next two years, as per a deal signed with the park's developer Summit Technopolis, Rahman added.
The country's leading mobile vendor holds 30 percent market share selling nine to 10 lakh handsets every month. The plant adds about 15 percent value and the company plans raising it as much as possible.
“When our plants start running in full swing we will definitely stop importing and also try to assemble other small branded products and look towards exports,” Rahman added.
The local firm got the assembling licence from the telecom regulator and completed preparations in August.
Jabbar said the plant was an outcome of the government's futurist policy and it would definitely help Symphony grab more business in the country. The government gave huge tax benefits for mobile assembling in the 2017-18 budget.
“We should not wait long to turn into an exporter of digital devices...and that achievement will come through the private sector,” Jabbar said.
Earlier, local firm Walton and global player Samsung started assembling and marketing their products.
Last year about 3.4 crore mobile handsets were imported through legal channels, of which 82 lakh were smartphones, according to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association.
In the first half of 2018, the figures stood at 1.55 crore units and 37.89 lakh units respectively.
Industry sources say the country spends over Tk 10,000 crore every year for importing these devices, for which assembling can save a huge amount of foreign currency.