Walton yesterday kicked off exports of air conditioner and smartphones to India and the US respectively, in a development that can be viewed as yet another feather in the cap for the trailblazing home-grown electronics giant.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal flagged off the shipments in a ceremony held at the premises of Walton Digi-Tech Industries in Chandra, Gazipur.
Posts and Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar and ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak were also present at the ceremony.
The dignitaries also inaugurated various projects and products of Walton Hi-Tech Industries: the country's first lift manufacturing plant, all-in-one PC manufacturing plant and Walton TV's own operating system ROS.
The annual production capacity of the newly built elevator factory is about 1,000 units. The plant will save the country huge sums of foreign currency.
Currently, the country needs about 5,000 elevators, with the amount expected to increase given the rate at which high-rise buildings are sprouting, according to Walton.
So, Walton plans to set up another unit for lift manufacturing.
The ministers also visited various production plants at the campus, including those of refrigerators, compressors, televisions, air conditioners, mobile phones, computers, laptops, home appliances and electric appliances.
Kamal praised Walton for breeding a technological industry and asked the company to take forward the current government's political mandate of Digital Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority also took the occasion to declare Walton High-Tech Industries a private hi-tech park, a move that would enable the local business group to get additional tax benefits from the government. It will also get electricity on a priority basis.
Walton would be the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the smartphones, which, however, would carry an American brand's name.
This would be first time that smartphones, which are sophisticated products, be entering the export basket that is populated by garment, pharmaceuticals, fish, leather and jute products.
Walton was the first to set up a mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bangladesh in October 2017.
Since then, the assembly line has churned out 60 lakh handsets, of which 17 lakh were smartphones.
Walton meets its entire demand from local production and since 2018 has stopped importing handset completely.
Currently, the plant's production capacity is 8 lakh smartphone and 20 lakh feature phone per month.
Beside handsets, Walton also manufactures mobile phone accessories such as chargers, batteries, earphones, cases, printed circuit boards, USB cables and meets its entire demand from local production.
Currently, it manufactures 10 lakh chargers, 5-6 lakh batteries and more than 6 lakh earphones. However, its production capacity is double of what it is currently manufacturing.
Walton currently exports a wide variety of products to different countries after meeting local demands.
Walton Hi-Tech Industries Chairman SM Nurul Alam Rezvi, Vice-chairman SM Shamsul Alam, Managing Director SM Ashraful Alam, Director SM Mahbubul Alam; Walton Digi-Tech Industries Chairman SM Rezaul Alam, MD SM Monjurul Alam; Walton Group Director Tahmina Afrose Tanna, Raisa Sigma Hima and Rifah Tasnia Swarna were present.