Saturday, 22 January, 2022

BHTC draws tech giants to investments in Bangladesh

GAZIPUR: Twelve tech-giants including multinational ones like Nokia have launched their plant operations in Bangladesh while scores more are expected to appear with investments soon, as Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City (BHTC) started drawing ICT companies on its premises in suburban Gazipur.

Officials of the state-run Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), which runs the BHTC, said 12 big ICT companies were currently running manufacturing operations at the facility while until November 2020 the number was five, reports BSS.

BHTPA Director ANM Safiqul Islam said different domestic and foreign tech companies by now invested about US$120.76 million and employed so far 460 workers at BHTC.

“They (the companies) are producing or set to produce smart phones, bio-medical equipment like kidney dialysis machines and life-saving therapeutic products,” he said while interacting with a group of journalists who recently visited the facility.

BHTPA officials said 70 domestic and foreign tech companies were allotted ready space or land so far in the teach-park on the outskirts of the capital while 12 of them by now started production activities in the park, the country’s first such facility in single complex developed on 355 acres of land.

Finland-based Nokia set up its plant on a five-acre plot under a company Vibrant Software (BD) Limited, a joint initiative of Bangladesh’s Union Group and UK-based Vibrant Software.

Vibrant Software (BD) officials said they were currently producing 2.5 lakh smartphones every month and planned to start producing feature phones as well from January next.

“Each of our devices is branding the country having inscriptions ‘Made in Bangladesh’,” said Nauf Hasan Ritun, Vibrant Software (BD) head of manufacturing and business development adding their plant was expected to increase the handset production up to six lakh per month from next March 2022.

US-based Sonar Bangla Foundation (SBF) operates as SBF Research and Development Centre at the BHTC and is assembling high quality kidney dialysis machines.

“The price of each machine is Taka 4 to 5 lakh lower than the imported ones,” SBF official Engineer Al Imran Sarker said while market prices suggest the imported such life saving device costs Taka 12 lakh to 13 lakh each.

Sarker said going beyond assembling the company was working to produce the devices alongside ventilation machines eyeing the foreign market as well as “we have received an investment proposal from another US company to turn our plant into a supply hub for the Asian region”.

Plasma producing Bangladeshi company Oryx Bio-Tech Limited set up its plant on 25 acres allotted land at BHTC to produce plasma with a target to initially meet 25 percent of Bangladesh demands for Plasma, the largest part of blood in human body, investing US$300 million.

Bangladesh currently needs to import plasma worth of Taka 2000 core annually.

One of the country’s leading telecom operators Robi has been allotted 1.5 acres of land to set up their plant in the park while the Bangladesh-India joint venture company is expected to invest US$2.6 million to produce its SIMs and related hardware.

Fair Electronics emerged as Bangladeshi producers of South Korean Samsung devices with a planned investment of US$ 10 million.

Nine more companies were allotted 20.50 acres of land in BHTC while BHTPA officials said these companies were committed to invest US$140.81 million.