Bangladesh’s IT industry eyes global success
Bangladesh's reputation as a prime outsourcing destination is growing thanks to the decision of major European companies to open their markets to the country's information technology firms, according to Fahim Mashroor.
Mashroor was elected President of the Bangladesh Association for Software and Information Services (BASIS) in July and was previously its Senior Vice-President for the past two years. He has been in the IT industry for many more years and runs the successful online job portal called BD Jobs.
When NTFII Bangladesh organized a B2B matchmaking event to the SoftExpo trade fair in February, BASIS was one the partners that helped make the fair a success.
Mashroor recalls that ITC organized five matchmaking events last in 2011 that BASIS members participated at — two in the Netherlands, and one each in Denmark, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh, all within the framework of the NTFII Bangladesh project, funded by the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI). ‘We’re planning to arrange four matchmaking events in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany this year, starting with our participation at CEBIT,’ he says.
One of NTF II's main arguments for bringing Bangladeshi IT companies to the events, he says, is the cost-competitiveness of the country’s IT industry. He recalls that that a UK operator, who took part in the 2012 SoftExpo delegation was surprised by the cost structure and estimated that Bangladeshi IT and ITES services are almost half the price compared to IT companies in India.
Another advantage, Mashroor says, is a highly-skilled Bangladeshi labour force. As indicated in the KPMG whitepaper published earlier this year, Bangladesh ranks next to Brazil and Russia in terms of computer engineers graduating every year. ‘In principle, Brazil and Russia are emerging advanced economies, whereas Bangladesh is still a developing country, which is very interesting,’ he says. ‘In fact, Bangladesh has a lot of skilled people with high expertise in the IT sector.’
ITC and BASIS collaborated with consultants and partners in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK to promote Bangladesh as a potential outsourcing destination for IT and ITES services and conducted an online and print media campaign to promote the BASIS SoftExpo 2012 in Dhaka. ITC is working with trade counsellors at Bangladeshi embassies in Europe to promote and expand the country’s IT and ITES industry in an effort to brand Bangladesh in the European market.
‘We’re also giving emphasis to non-resident Bangladeshis, because they are basically the ambassadors of Bangladesh, to find business opportunities for Bangladeshi IT and ITES companies around the world,’ Mashroor says.
‘Instead of the usual news of poverty and natural disasters, Bangladesh also has good news, which is that the country is a very promising global outsourcing destination, it’s cost competitive and it has a very skilled workforce in the IT and ITES sector.’
‘I would like to add here that we have just secured a second connection to international bandwidth, which was a major expectation from our foreign partners. 1Asia Communication (BD) Ltd in mid-August physically connected their network with the Indian terrestrial cable company TATA Communications in Benapole. '
• NTF II Bangladesh earlier this year commissioned KPMG to produce a benchmarking study to compare Bangladesh with other global sourcing destinations. The study can be downloaded here.
Learn more about ITC’s NTF II Bangladesh programme.