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Smartphone business booming

Smartphone7 (1)With an increased local demand, smartphone prices are going to become more affordable this year, thanks to more and more investments by local and foreign companies to establish plants to produce smartphones locally.

Approximately, 75 lakh units of smartphones were sold in 2018; among them, 7 per cent was locally produced and assembled. This year, 6 new brands will go into full operation and commence producing smartphones locally, raising the share to 40 per cent. This will not only enhance the market of smartphone but also boost exports, say business insiders.

Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) told The Independent that, globally, smartphone prices are falling, affecting the Bangladeshi market as well.

Smartphones will become more affordable for Bangladeshi consumers as large brands such as Walton, Samsung and Symphony have started producing handsets locally. From this year, three new brands will start their operations fully, said Kabir.

 Talking about smartphone penetration, Kabir said that the broadband internet will reach the union level in the rural areas very soon, making smartphone penetration in the rural market possible. The use of smartphones will be justifiable when people are able to conveniently download heavy-duty contents from the Internet.

Talking about the other advantages, he said that people would be able to get e-commerce services, a whole lot of citizen services such as passport, trade-licence and others once smartphone usage becomes more accessible in rural areas.

Talking about handsets that are entering illegally, he said that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) recently prepared the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database to detect illegally imported handsets.

Smartphone Expo

The Techshohor Smartphone and Tab Expo (STE) 2019 was recently held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital from January 10–12, 2019.

STE, the largest smartphone and tablet showcasing event in Bangladesh organised by Expo Maker, was held for the eleventh time this year.

When the smartphone and tab expo first started, at that time, the smartphone penetration was 1 per cent in Bangladesh. In 2016, it became 26 per cent, said organisers.

 According to the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA), 76.97 lakh units of smartphones were imported in 2018 and 81.67 lakh pieces were imported in 2017, indicating a 5.75 per cent negative growth rate.

 This was a good sign for local producers, said exhibitors who participated in the expo.

 The three-day expo drew a huge number of gadget enthusiasts as different smartphone and tablet PC brands had to come up with big offers at the exhibition venue.

Brands Galore

Brands such as Huawei, Samsung, Tecno, Vivo, We, GoldenField, Motorola, Nokia, iPhone, UCC, Infinix, Umidigi, DTel, ADA, Maximus and e-commerce platform Priyoshop.com participated in the expo.

Nokia, a Finnish multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company participated and brought loads of offer at the smartphone and tab expo.

Habib, a salesperson from the stall told The Independent, “Nokia is offering an attractive handset model, 8.1, which is available in the fair with Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI) facilities.”

“Nakia is offering up to 20 per cent discounts along with a winter jacket for their products. Every latest model is available at the expo, as buyers purchase their preferred one from the expo,” said Nokia salesman.

‘WE’, another smartphone brand, was offering up to 30 per cent discount on their 4G smartphone model ‘L9’ along with two other gifts. “We are providing ‘buy one, get one free’ offer for only 3 hours on the last day of this expo,” said Muntasir, branch head of the stall, when he was contacted during the fair.

 Eagle Song, marketing director, consumer business, Huawei, said, “Huawei is not only focusing on smartphones but also on accessories such as power banks and earphones. We want to build up the entire ecosystem in Bangladesh,”

On the occasion, Huawei provided up to 20 per cent special discount on Smartphones with attractive gifts during the expo and up to 40 per cent special discount on Tab and Huawei original accessories items (earphone, bluetooth headset, quick charger, OTG cable, selfie stick, and smart scale etc, said Song.

Moreover, there were special offers on Huawei Power Bank and Color Band A2 and B2 for this expo only, he further said.

Talking about the price and striking models, a salesperson of the store, requesting anonymity, said that, in this expo, customers bought Huawei nova 3e at Tk 22,500 instead of the regular price of Tk 27,990. Moreover, Huawei nova 3i was available at Tk 25,500 with an attractive gift box, while the regular price of the handset is Tk 26,990.

Popular smartphone Huawei Mate 20 Pro was available for Tk 89,990 with exclusive gifts throughout the fair. Also, customers got Huawei Matebook X with a discounted price of Tk 110,000, he added.

Sakib Arafat, director of smart technologies said, “We came to this expo to build awareness about our brands among prospective consumers.”

Vivo, a Chinese technology company, also offered discounts and backpack with their products, said a sales representative.

Dtel was present with their accessories including power bank at the expo.

 Shoaib Mahmud, branch manager of dtel, said, “We have the reputation of bringing various power banks to the market. We also have a ‘buy one get one free’ offer at the expo. Not only this, there is a discount of up to 30 per cent on all dtel products.

All smart accessories of Xiaomi and laptops are available at the fair, said Assistant Manager of UCC, Niyamat Hasan Nimu. “Our UCC Company, is Xiaomi’s authorised distributor in Bangladesh. This year, Xiaomi’s power bank, Fitbit tracker, glasses, laptops, headphones, earphones, backpack, smartwatch are also available.

Xiaomi offered 36 per cent discount on all products, he added.

On the other hand, 40 per cent discounts were offered by Smasung on their products at the expo. Noyon Hossain, salesman of Samsung, said, “All the latest models are available in the fair.”

 Samsung offered 9 per cent discount for students in this fair, he said.

Muhammad Khan, Strategic Planner, Expo Maker, said, “There were price cuts for products and gift items from the participant companies at the expo. We had already started a contest on Facebook. The winners of the competition got attractive gifts at the event.”

Huawei, Samsung and Tecno were platinum sponsors of the fair. While Vivo and WE were gold sponsors. GoldenField and Motorola were silver sponsors and the title sponsor was Techshohor.com, a Bangladeshi news portal. Overseas education consulting firm EduMaker was the partner of the event.

Monjurul Islam, a buyer who came from Dhanmondi, said, “I knew that there will be good amounts of discounts offered by the sellers. So, I bought a Samsung mobile phone set at 25 per cent discount.”

Imran Ahmed from Mirpur, said, “I got to know from my colleagues that special discounts were being offered at the fair. So, I came here to get those offers.”

The fair was open for all from 10 am to 8 pm. There was an entry fee of Tk 20 only. Students entered free by showing their student ID cards in the fair.

Report: Sharif Ahmed

Source:  Daily Independent

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