Japan, the area of rising promise for Bangladesh’s ICT sector

30 Jun 2020 9:17 AM
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Japan -- ever in the forefront of science and technology thanks to its customs of intensive mathematics education and reverence for engineers.

So that it is a marvel after that that Bangladesh's fledgeling ICT players are gradually carving a space for themselves in that market over the decade, spearheaded by Mahboob Zaman during his time as the president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).

Today, Bangladesh's annual exports of info and communications technology (ICT) products to Japan total about Tk 100 crore. In the last year or two, Japan offers been the single most significant marketplace for Bangladesh's ICT sector.

And the exports can develop manifold within the next couple of years if the local companies can leverage the market's potential. So many that the ASIAN nation can make the lion's share of the government's 2023 export target of $5 billion, according to business owners and industry insiders.

Additionally, the global coronavirus pandemic features additionally opened doors for hometown firms found in Japan, which is keen on shifting its associated businesses to locations other than China, they said.

Within the next three to five years Bangladesh could possibly become the main driver of Japan's ICT market if the neighborhood companies can grab the opportunities where relationships will play a vital part, said Rashad Kabir, managing director of Dream71.

His firm happens to be one of the 50 or so local entities employing different Japanese ICT corporations and this number can be increased further, said Kabir, also the director of the Bangladesh Association of Program and Information Solutions (BASIS).

DataSoft Systems was among the first native companies to concentrate on Japan.

It opened an workplace there and ran some projects, including 1 in which it partnered with Johnson Control Hitachi to build up Internet of Factors (IoT) goods for them. It is right now engaged in a study partnership with a Japanese university.

Its Managing Director Zaman inspired several hometown companies a couple of years back to focus on that market as it includes a shortage of ICT engineers, whereas Bangladesh has workforce aplenty.

"In the diplomatic level, we have a warm marriage. The local companies' simply responsibility now could be to nurture this romantic relationship with their benefit," Zaman said.

The Japanese government has recently decided to approach its companies from China to other locations and for that, they own declared a stimulus package of $2.43 billion.

This prompted 24 companies to go to Vietnam, 11 to Hong Kong, 3 to India and only 2 to Bangladesh, he said.

"We need to play a role in bringing the Japanese ICT investment here by giving them confidence inside our capabilities and innovative ideas," he said, expecting the pandemic to open innovative windows of possibilities for the neighborhood firms.

The BASIS started attending Japan IT Week yearly since 2015 to showcase its members' products and capabilities. And a great number of Japanese firms are also attending BASIS Softexpo going back couple of years. 

Earlier, the foundation was mostly centered on European markets, especially most Nordic countries and the US. However in the last couple of years, Japan ended up being the single largest market for the ICT sector.

To seize these opportunities, the foundation, largest trade body of the ICT and program industry of the united states, yesterday opened a special "BASIS Japan Desk".

It had been inaugurated by Salman F Rahman, the prime minister's exclusive industry and expense adviser, through a good virtual programme where Status Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak was likewise present.

Bangladesh could be a new destination for Japan and that is why the BASIS felt the need for the launch of a special desk, said Syed Almas Kabir, president of the organisation.

The dedicated desk for japan market could have features like organization to business (B2B) matchmaking, links to Japanese IT companies and research on the Japanese market.

The desk will take part in all ICT events in Japan, provide grooming sessions on Japanese businesses and culture and inform Bangladeshi entrepreneurs about the most recent technologies, said the foundation.

The initiative can help Bangladeshi companies expand their businesses in Japan and boost export revenue, they added.

The government was attempting to increase its ease of conducting business ranking and he was hoping for subsequent year's position to be higher, Rahman said.

"There is no option to attracting foreign direct expenditure for the production of a region and the BASIS provides chosen such a country which includes been a reliable partner for many years."

He also requested the foundation to showcase their successes before Japan and other countries as currently Bangladesh was going very strong in this sector.

Rahman also asked to set up a corresponding help desk in Tokyo.

Senior Secretary to the ICT Division NM Zeaul Alam; Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin; Ambassador Incredible and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Dhaka Ito Naoki; officials from the Bangladesh embassy in Tokyo; and JICA Bangladesh Chief Representative Mikio Hataeda, spoke at the event, among others.