IT and telecom spending in Bangladesh tops $380m
Thursday, 17 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Small and medium businesses in Bangladesh spent nearly $380 million on IT and telecom solutions in 2007, said a study conducted by the New York-based Access Markets International Partners. 'SMBs in Bangladesh may have started off a bit slower than their counterparts in the Indian subcontinent in terms of overall IT adoption,' says Dev Chakravarty, senior analyst at AMI Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in IT, internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital and actionable market intelligence, with a strong focus on global small and medium business enterprises. 'However, their IT adoption is set to take off more rapidly in the near future.

That is because SMBs in Bangladesh are becoming more aware of the advantages of IT in increasing business process efficiencies and enabling them to move up the growth ladder,' he said. SMBs are also being supported by promotional measures taken by the government for enhancing technology deployment.

They are also being wooed by the increased sales and marketing efforts by leading IT vendors in Bangladesh. SMBs typically go through three distinctive phases of IT deployment — from building infrastructure solutions to deploying connectivity solutions and ultimately enter- prise solutions for extending business reach to remote locations, customers and business partners. Most of Bangladesh's SMBs are still in the first wave of technology adoption (building the basic infrastructure) and are yet to progress to the second wave (connecting the enterprise), as is evident from their technology penetrations.

They have already reached substantially high usage levels in technologies like desktops, printers and basic productivity software applications, anti-virus and, to some extent, even internet. 'Only around one in ten SMBs in Bangladesh have adopted computers at present,' says Chakravarty. 'Nevertheless, this is more an opportunity rather than a shortcoming. Personal computer vendors can focus on this huge, relatively untapped, SMB market in this country to gain significant returns.

PC adop- tion plans are quite positive,' said the study, released on Monday. 'About 30 per cent of PC-owning SMBs indicated that they intend to purchase new PCs in the next 12 months. A sizeable proportion of first-time PC buyers are also likely to join in, thus boosting the overall SMB market for PCs,' concludes the report.

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