In 2009 the “Digital Bangladesh” program was introduced, encompassing four components: human resource development, connecting citizens, digital governance, and promotion of information and communication technology (ICT) in business. The aim is to transform Bangladesh into a digital economy from 2021 onward, and a knowledge-based economy by 2041.
ICT is mainstreamed as a tool to eradicate poverty, ensure education, empower good governance, promote healthcare, assure legal certainty and law enforcement, and also guarantee effective preparation for climate change.
Bangladesh is today one of the countries most frequently chosen as an outsourcing destination, particularly in the fields of computer programming, web design, image processing and search engine optimization, to name but a few. According to Nazim Farhan Choudhury of Adcomm, companies in Bangladesh are in a phase of digital transformation. The whir of the sewing machine is, as it were, to be supplanted by the click of the computer mouse. He calls it the click factory. Good IT and English language skills are the two important factors for the future.
2008 was the foundation year of Symphony, the company that launched Bangladesh’s first mobile phone brand. Nowadays the firm has a market share of 30 %. Prices are focused on a segment between 40 and 80 euros. At the new, company-owned plant in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, around 150,000 smartphones are produced every month. “This covers local demand, making imports unnecessary,” said Jakaria Shahid of EDISON Group, the parent company of Symphony. In future the firm also intends to develop software, mobile apps, and games.
Incidentally, what most people don’t realize is that the two company founders, Aminur Rashid und Jakaria Shahid, are exemplary personifications of entrepreneurial risk-taking and perseverance: for a number of years they both worked for a large German conglomerate in Bangladesh. They had secure positions there before they became independent. Many so-called experts felt safe in predicting that they wouldn’t turn a profit on the mobile phone market in Bangladesh. But they always believed in their idea and never gave up. Their success today proves them right, and they can only be congratulated on their courage and instinct. With their product they’ve not only opened up a market niche, but also been greatly instrumental in improving people’s quality of life, and developing Bangladesh and the Made in Bangladesh brand.