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  1. BEZA gets $20.5 billion investment proposals Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has received investment proposals amounting to around US Dollar 20.50 billion from 151 local and foreign business entities thanks to various steps of government to attract new investments, officials said. BEZA is responsible for establishing and managing of state-run special economic zones (SEZs) across the country. Out of the investment proposals, top officials of BEZA said, around $2.80 billion has already been invested in different SEZs. Around $4.808 billion will come as foreign direct investment (FDI) from different companies in Japan, China, South Korea, India, Thailand, Australia, the UK, the Netherland and the USA. World-famous companies like Honda Motors, Sumitomo Nippon, Asian Paints, Barger Paints, Adani Group, Wilmar, Yabang, Siam Group, TIC Group, Unilever, Sakata Inch and Chain Harbour are the major foreign investors. Talking to BSS recently, BEZA Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said beyond these investment proposals, many world-renowned foreign companies are coming with big investment offers. "We've already developed eight state-run SEZs as per a move to make the country an industrial hub in the world," Chowdhury informed. The zones, he said, are – Mirsarai Economic Zone, Mirsarai Economic Zone 2A, Mirsarai Economic Zone 2B, Feni Economic Zone and SBG Economic Zone under the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN), Jamalpur Economic Zone, Shreehatta Economic Zone and Mongla Economic Zone. The BEZA executive chairmen said many entrepreneurs from home and abroad have already started construction works of their industrial units in the economic zones, while many are taking preparations to set up factories there. He mentioned that the government is providing all sorts of facilities to the economic zones to ensure investment-friendly environment. "Both local and foreign businesses who will invest in the economic zones will enjoy the same facilities," he added. Chowdhury went on saying that Jinyuan Chemical Industry Limited, a sister concern of the Chinese ZhuzhouJinyuan Chemical Industry Company Limited, has already set up their factory in the BSMSN at Mirsarai, Sitakundu and Sonagazi upazillas under Chattogram and Feni districts. "We hope that at least 20 companies will start their construction works within this year," he said. The BEZA executive chairman said the development works of another seven state-owned SEZs are going at a quicker pace to attract both foreign and local investors. "We're also planning to establish another 14 state-owned SEZs across the country," he said. Of them, the feasibility study of two SEZs – Netrokona Economic Zone and Bogura Economic Zone – has already been completed, he added. Another 12 other SEZs which is mulling to be set up are – Gopalgonj EZ-1 in Kotalipara upazila under Gopalganj district, Sitakundo Economic Zone, Tangail Economic Zone, Manikganj Economic Zone, Bhola Economic Zone, Nababganj Economic Zone, Sylhet Special Economic Zone, Chandpur Economic Zone, Jamalpur Economic Zone-2, Nilphamari Economic Zone, Araihazar Economic Zone-2 and Panchagarh Economic Zone, he continued. Chowdhury informed that the BEZA has already awarded pre-qualification license to 20 private economic zones and of them, 11 were given final license. The private economic zones who obtained the final license are Meghna Economic Zone, Abdul Monem Economic Zone, Aman Economic Zone, Bay Economic Zone, Meghna Industrial Economic Zone, City Economic Zone, Sirajganj Economic Zone, Karnaphuli Dry Dock Special Economic Zone, East West Special Economic Zone, Kishoreganj Economic Zone and Hosendi Economic Zone, he said. The BEZA chief said they have given pre-qualification license to the AK Khan Economic Zone, Arisha Economic Zone, United City IT Park, Bashundara Economic Zone, Sonargaon Economic Zone, Cumilla Economic Zone, Hamid Economic Zone and Standard Global Economic Zone. He said the economic zones have already created direct employment opportunities for around 30,000 people, and through the proposed industrial units, there will be direct employment scope for at least eight lakh people. Chowdhury said BEZA has undertaken a plan to establish 'Bhumi Bank' so that industrial development is not hindered in the next 50 years due to land scarcity. "We've already acquired 47,856.3350 acres of land for developing the 22 state-run EZs," he said. https://tbsnews.net/economy/beza-gets-205-billion-investment-proposals-51025?fbclid=IwAR3MLr_43q7x2rTOSy4rLev4OI6gpKtGY0xP2ba79oryTDiTWe7Hc8T-Py8
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note10+ now made in Bangladesh The flagship device now cheaper for local assembly South Korean tech giant Samsung recently made Bangladesh swell with pride after it started manufacturing its flagship smart device Galaxy Note10+ in its local plant, in a testament of the massive technological advancement of the country’s mobile device assembling industry. The Note10+ has been designed like a computer, a gaming console and a movie-tech camera, and comes with an intelligent pen. “No doubt this is the most sophisticated handset produced in the country,” said Mohammad Mesbah Uddin, chief marketing officer of Fair Electronics, Samsung’s local assembly partner. The first batch of locally assembled Note10+ from Fair Electronics’ 58,000 square feet state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Narsingdi was delivered to the market in the first week of January. Thanks to local assembly, the flagship Samsung device became Tk 31,300 cheaper: it is now selling at Tk 113,000. All 1,500 units in the first batch has already been sold out. “We received tremendous response from the market,” said Uddin, who is also the joint secretary of the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association. And the overwhelming response has convinced Fair Electronics to assemble the Note10 Lite, another top-notch handset. Fair Electronics, which started assembling Samsung handsets last year, has so far churned out 20 lakh units of 4G-enabled smartphones. Some 25 Samsung models of Samsung handsets have been assembled at the plant. “We will now move to assembling more sophisticated handset models. Gradually, all the high-end models will be manufactured in our plant.” The incredulous development is courtesy of a policy swerve in fiscal 2017-18: a good number of licences were offered for mobile assembly plants. Nine have sprung up so far. Fair Electronics is now assembling about 97 per cent of all Samsung devices sold in Bangladesh and expects to suspend importing after March as its local plant is capable of meeting the domestic demand entirely. This year, the company is aiming to assemble 25 lakh units of smartphones. The company is now adding about 35 per cent value to its products, and within the next few years the value addition will go up to 45 per cent as it plans to set up a PCBA motherboard manufacturing system. The quality of the locally made devices is, in some cases, better than that of the imported ones, said Muyeedur Rahman, head of mobile at Samsung Mobile Bangladesh. “The quality has improved significantly. Which is why we are offering 120 days of replacement warranty for the devices,” he added. Samsung is now taking preparation to manufacture tablets locally. Fair Electronics is also manufacturing several models of Samsung home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens and televisions in different units on the Narsingdi plant premises. A unit to manufacture washing machines is on the way, too.
  3. Symphony now meets smartphone demand from own plant A new era is dawning in the manufacturing industry as local companies are putting their best foot forward towards building a ‘Made in Bangladesh’ brand. One such brand is Symphony, which is going neck and neck with foreign companies to grab a bigger pie of the smartphone market that was dominated by imports until recently. The company is assembling about 1.5 lakh smartphones every month in its plant in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka and has been meeting all its local demand from the plant since June last year. The factory is also making basic phones at such a pace -- currently 1.25 lakh units a month -- that no imports would be required by the year end, said Jakaria Shahid, managing director of Edison Group, Symphony’s parent company. “We stopped importing smartphones last June and our target is to meet the entire local demand from our plant by December this year.” The plant currently manufactures about seven to eight lakh units of basic and smartphones every month, according to Shahid, also the general secretary of the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association. In the face of rising demand, the company is working to expand the plant’s capacity and build two more units, he told journalists, who were taken to Ashulia for a tour of the factory. “The two new plants should be ready by 2022 and then we will seek to explore export opportunities.” Symphony, which has a market share of 30 per cent, is splashing out about Tk 100 crore for the three plants. They also have a plan to make mobile accessories, which will go some way towards building a total value chain for mobile assembling. “We will develop software, mobile applications and games as well, while the plants will churn out about two lakh units of accessories.” The factory is now adding 20 per cent value to the products and that will rise to 30 per cent over the next five years. The government offered huge tax benefits for mobile assembling in fiscal 2017-18 after which seven plants were set up in Bangladesh, with another two in the pipeline. Symphony -- which began its journey in 2008, becoming Bangladesh’s first mobile phone brand -- has been leading the market for the last five years but has now shifted focus to handsets in the price range of Tk 4,000 to Tk 8,000. The main demand lies in this segment, Shahid said, while urging the government to assess the market before giving licences for new plants. “The quality of our phones is better than those made in China,” said Md Maksudur Rahman, senior director of business operation at Edison Group. About 3.10 crore handsets were sold in 2019, of which 80 lakh were Symphony’s, said MA Hanif, head of sales. Source This is great news, Our economy needs to diversify and high tech factories are a great way of doing so.
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