It’s beyond doubt that quantum jump in Information Technology in recent years has posed challenges to many core values and principles. In our times, teachers in the class would often utter the old saying – the more educated the nations, the more developed they are – has had its day. In recent times, the adage seems to be replaced by a sort of – the more tech-savvy or skilled in using tech-gadgets the nations, the more advanced they are. In fact, the use of and thrust for technology products has been a barometer of economic development of a country in this day and age. Bangladesh also keeping pace with the trend is moving in the right direction, and striving to grab a considerable share of the global market pie. Thanks to the various IT projects getting off the ground and many are in the pipeline, in aegis of the government and individuals for which local IT product market continues to enjoy a remarkable boom year-over-year.
A survey carried out by International Data Corporation (IDC), a US-based market intelligence firm, suggests that the country’s technology product market has been growing by leaps and bounds with huge potential to develop further. It reveals that the size of IT-based technology product market in Bangladesh is worth about US$1.5 billion. Among the tech products, the mobile handsets are leading the market, growing with an annual turnover of $ 1.18 billion while laptop computers have a burgeoning market of about $ 165 million. So, it’s not inconceivable as to why tech-juggernauts including Samsung, Lenovo, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Google have started to make their footprints in Bangladesh to penetrate the IT market by bringing out avant-garde technology products.That a leading mobile phone operator has recently posted its highest ever revenue in the first quarter of 2019 during its journey of 22 years in the country is a pointer to the rising IT market. The company cited an uptake in 4G conversion was one of the major reasons for a substantial rise in profit. It is pertinent to note that availing 4G Internet service has a lot to do with technology gadgets. To put it simple, one requires buying Mobile handsets or personal system such as Laptop for using 4G Internet, which eventually contributes to a surge in demand of these products, leading to a boom in market. This is borne out by the fact that some 5 lakh pieces of laptops are imported every year, as the growth rate has touched around 10–15 per cent in recent years with the government’s vision of Digital Bangladesh driving people’s appetite for technological solutions.
While the global demand for laptops is on the wane, it is quit the opposite here in Bangladesh. It witnessed a stunning year-on-year increases in demand in recent years and the uptrend is likely to continue, according to IDC. Specifically, some 4.01 lakh units of laptops were shipped in the first nine months of the year 2017, up about 60 per cent more of the previous year. This is because more and more people are having their eye on computing solutions to carry out day to day task at the push of a button. On the other hand, during the period, about 80,000 units of desktop computers were brought into Bangladesh, which was more or less the same as a year before.
With average price of Tk 40,000 a laptop, a market around Tk 1,600 crore worth of laptop currently exists in the country. As the country has just embarked on to embrace the digital world, its huge market still remains unexplored. So, the market’s 10 plus per cent growth will definitely prevail over the next five years, say industry insiders. This is corroborated by the fact of market analysis that alongside urban areas, a large number of buyers of laptop are from rural areas. This also indicates the campaign of digital Bangladesh has gained traction and its effect is trickling down to rural populace.
Although data revealed by Gartner shows Chinese PC maker Lenovo took the crown with 22.5 per cent share of the global PC market in 2018, followed by respective shares of HP and Dell were 21.7 per cent and 16.2 per cent, Bangladesh PC market is leading by HP, followed by Dell, Lenovo and others. IDC data released in late Dec 2017 reveals HP accounted for 36 per cent of the laptop imports, followed by Dell at 26 per cent, Lenovo 17 per cent, Asus 14 per cent, Acer 4 per cent and other brands 18 per cent. Of the total imports, 60 per cent are laptops or notebooks; obviously, because computing is right up street of younger generations, including students.
IT experts point out several reasons for people to prefer laptop to other gadgets for which the market would continue to grow. First, come is its efficiency. Because Laptops featured with cutting-edge technology is no less powerful than Desktops and much more efficient than Tablets and Smartphones. Second, companies prefer laptop because it can be put in a space with not enough room to swing a cat. Third, it consumes much less power than Desktop computers. And one can easily work 3-4 hours with laptops in case of no electricity. Finally, due to its portability, laptops can be carried anywhere.
Undoubtedly, these factors have stimulated rapid growth in laptop market for which imports went through the roof, from 20 to 25 thousand to some 5 lakh, in a decade. That’s all well and good, but what about the prices of laptop as average price of a laptop is still high as far as purchase ability of the people is concerned. So, manufacturing the products locally can be a viable solution. Though local giant Walton is producing laptop, its effort is still insignificant to influence the market.Therefore, the government should set the initiative in motion and put its best foot forward so that famous foreign brands such as HP, Lenovo and Dell establish manufacturing plants and export their products from Bangladesh as well. Only favourable policies such as offering greater incentives, cutting tax and duty, improving road safety, and reducing corruption can embolden the tech-moguls to set up their plants here, which ultimately would help sustain the momentum of IT product market.
The writer is an Associate Engineer, Thakral Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. Email: [email protected]