32% import tax on mobile handsets became a solid reason for brands to assemble or manufacture their phones directly in Bangladesh. Tax drops down to 18% if the phones are assembled in Bangladesh whereas manufacturing tax is only 13%. When the brands import hardware or some parts from other countries and finish the production locally, it is called assembling. On the other hand, if the total production including hardware manufacturing from raw materials takes place locally, it is called manufacturing. Currently, brands are only able to assemble in Bangladesh so, they import hardware and body parts from China. Thus the tax payment becomes 18%.
Local brand Walton was the first to start its own factory in October 2017. In 2018, they sold about 11 lakh phones which were assembled in Bangladesh. From July 2018, they are assembling all of their smartphones and feature phones locally.
Chinese Manufacturer Transsion Holdings started their plants at the beginning of 2018 in Gazipur. They are the owner of popular itel and Tecno brands. Currently, they are assembling about two lakh units per month.
Global leader and South Korean giant Samsung started production from June 2018 in their plant in Narsingdi. They have sold about 6 lakh made in Bangladesh phones in 6 months.
Local market leader Symphony is running their plant since September 2018 in Ashulia. They have sold about 3.5 lakh locally assembled phones in the last two months of 2018. Symphony has plan to open a second factory in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City. Symphony brand’s owner Edison Group is currently working to establish the factory.
Another local company Al Amin Brothers are assembling feature phones in Gazipur since the end of 2018 under the brand name 5 Star Mobile. They also have plans to bring smartphones in the near future.
Last but not least, Bangladeshi brand WE Mobile (an entity of Aamra Companies) is starting their plant from March 2019 in Mirpur, Dhaka. Later, they will start another plant in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City. They will also export phones in countries like Qatar, UAE, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Primarily, they will produce 1.5 lakh phones per month.
Popular brand like Xiaomi also has plans to open their own factory in Bangladesh pretty soon. We are expecting significant price drops this year which may serve consumer interest. These initiatives from the brands mentioned above will also help local businesses to flourish, create new jobs, contribute to the local economy and fasten technological improvement in Bangladesh.