Consumers would be buying made-in-Bangladesh Samsung 4G phones ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr in June and they would be more affordable.
Samsung's local partner Fair Electronics Ltd yesterday inaugurated a new 58,000sqft manufacturing plant in Narsingdi that would be making the phones.
Initially, entry-level and mid-range phones would be built there and gradually higher end phones. All the parts for the phones would be provided by Samsung and it would also ensure quality.
The South Korean giant has eight phone plants across the globe and this will be its ninth state-of-the-art factory, said Ruhul Alam Al-Mahbub, chairman of Fair Group, at a press conference at the Dhaka Sonargaon Hotel yesterday.
“We want to create a new identity of Bangladesh as a mobile phone-producing and -exporting country,” said Mahbub.
From the second week of May, the plant would start production and before Eid, the devices would hit the market, said Mohammad Mesbah Uddin, chief marketing officer of Fair Electronics.
Managing Director Seungwon Youn of Samsung Electronics Bangladesh said the plant was part of their commitment to provide genuine and world-class Samsung products to Bangladesh.
“We are sure the range of Samsung 4G smartphones will help the country achieve its digitalisation goals as we move forward,” Youn said.
Samsung entered Bangladesh in 2009. It runs a research and development institute here that works on developing apps, business-to-business solutions and localisation.
The Narsingdi plant would be fully owned by Fair Electronics but Samsung would ensure device quality, said Muyeedur Rahman, head of mobile at Samsung.
Samsung sees a lot of demand for its smartphones in Bangladesh and the new plant would help to fulfil the demand, he said.
Without quality testing and without the lab's certification, no product would be released to the market, said Mesbah Uddin. “Through Samsung's quality testing, its global standards will be ensured.”
The price of a locally assembled device will definitely be significantly lower than that of the imported model, officials said.
Currently, there are 29.50 percent taxes on different segments of finished mobile device import. For importing parts and segregated equipment, the tax is between one and 10 percent.
“Definitely this tax benefit will be passed on to the customers but right now we cannot confirm how much the price will be reduced,” said Mesbah.
The three-line plant generated over 500 direct jobs and has the ability to produce a few lakh devices a month.
Bangladesh is one of the largest and fastest growing smartphone markets. Last year, the country imported Tk 10,000 crore worth of devices and 26 percent of them were Samsung devices, according to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association.
Other local and international players are also preparing for assembling phones in Bangladesh. So far, seven have sought permits from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
Walton had declared production commencement from its local assembly plant in October. A small number of its locally made phones are in the market.
Aamra Holdings, another local firm, is setting up a plant aiming commercial production at the end of Ramadan.
Symphony is eying launch of its locally-made products ahead of Eid.
Transsion Bangladesh, the local chapter of a Chinese mobile phone maker, is also building a plant in Gazipur. The plant would go into commercial production by the end of May.
Daffodil and Lava have also sought BTRC licences to produce phones here.