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‘Kotha is our Facebook, PayPal and WhatsApp’

 

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A homegrown mobile application with the mind-boggling capability to send messages, make voice calls, order grocery and food, stream music and movies and buy tickets has started doing the rounds with a promise to make life easier for digital citizens of Bangladesh.

The beta version of the country's first social and lifestyle application, Kotha, was launched on Wednesday by Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, at a programme held at the software technology park at the Janata Tower in Dhaka.

Palak used the app at the event and was so amazed by its features that he declared himself the brand ambassador of Kotha, now available for download from the Google and Apple app stores.

"To me Kotha is our Facebook, our PayPal, Netflix, Twitter and WhatsApp," he said, while promising the group of tech-savvy local entrepreneurs who developed the app support from the government in the form of office space and funding.

Such apps in South Korea, China and the Philippines have witnessed huge success. Korea has Kakaotalk, the Philippines has Tantan and China WeChat. "So why can't this app be a success in Bangladesh?"

"When we share anything in Facebook and Google all our data goes to them. They are taking the data outside the country and are also earning from us by using the data. Through Kotha we want to create a customer data hub in Bangladesh."

Palak said the world is now observing a trade war and if Bangladesh faces anything like this, the country will be self-dependent in terms of users' data through platforms like Kotha.

"We want to see Bangladesh as an innovative nation. Our young talents will develop search engines and communications platforms like Google and Facebook," Palak said, adding that he will work to popularise the application in the country.

Besides getting a Facebook-like experience, people can listen to music, watch movies, top up phones and use digital maps. Many more services are coming on board within a couple of months, when its full version will be rolled out.

Users will also be able to make payments, plan tours, take ride and buy tickets and games, which entrepreneurs think will ultimately change the social and digital lifestyle of people.

"This will be an 'all-in-one app' and will save a huge amount of foreign currency as it will draw a huge volume of traffic that is currently using foreign social media outlets," said Mahboob Zaman, chairman of Kotha Technologies Limited that is developing the app.

The app has already been downloaded more than 30,000 times and a huge number of youths are showing interest by sharing photos and videos.

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Bangladeshi customers are generating a lot of data now by using different digital services and this will soon turn into a minefield, said Zaman, a renowned technology entrepreneur and managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh.

"Certainly, data will be the next currency and if we have access to the data, people will experience drastic change in their lives," said Zaman, also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services.

Every year different social media platforms like Facebook and Google are earning thousands of crores of taka from Bangladesh by means of users' data and that helps the brands connect with their customers as well, said Tashfin Delwar, chief executive officer of Kotha Technologies.

Delwar said they are working to establish a network for the app where small entrepreneurs can open accounts and can run their business digitally like WeChat does in China. Owners of Kotha are also targeting the Bangla speaking community as it is the eighth most spoken language in the world.

Entrepreneurs of Kotha said Bangladesh's economic growth, government's willingness, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, change in consumer perception and internet penetration -- all were contributing positively to the government's vision of Digital Bangladesh.

Nonetheless, the country is still dependent on foreign services for social networking and communication, they said.

Mohaimin Mostafa, its chief marketing officer, believes that Kotha will make an impact and add value to people's life.

Kotha will offer the Bangladeshis their own social media and communication tool and promote use of Bangla language, he added. Delwar, the CEO, believes Kotha will gradually replace Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and other apps like these. 

 

https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/kotha-our-facebook-paypal-and-whatsapp-1867738

 

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14 minutes ago, Hasnat Shahriyar Nahin said:

‘Kotha is our Facebook, PayPal and WhatsApp’

 

spacer.png

 

A homegrown mobile application with the mind-boggling capability to send messages, make voice calls, order grocery and food, stream music and movies and buy tickets has started doing the rounds with a promise to make life easier for digital citizens of Bangladesh.

The beta version of the country's first social and lifestyle application, Kotha, was launched on Wednesday by Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, at a programme held at the software technology park at the Janata Tower in Dhaka.

Palak used the app at the event and was so amazed by its features that he declared himself the brand ambassador of Kotha, now available for download from the Google and Apple app stores.

"To me Kotha is our Facebook, our PayPal, Netflix, Twitter and WhatsApp," he said, while promising the group of tech-savvy local entrepreneurs who developed the app support from the government in the form of office space and funding.

Such apps in South Korea, China and the Philippines have witnessed huge success. Korea has Kakaotalk, the Philippines has Tantan and China WeChat. "So why can't this app be a success in Bangladesh?"

"When we share anything in Facebook and Google all our data goes to them. They are taking the data outside the country and are also earning from us by using the data. Through Kotha we want to create a customer data hub in Bangladesh."

Palak said the world is now observing a trade war and if Bangladesh faces anything like this, the country will be self-dependent in terms of users' data through platforms like Kotha.

"We want to see Bangladesh as an innovative nation. Our young talents will develop search engines and communications platforms like Google and Facebook," Palak said, adding that he will work to popularise the application in the country.

Besides getting a Facebook-like experience, people can listen to music, watch movies, top up phones and use digital maps. Many more services are coming on board within a couple of months, when its full version will be rolled out.

Users will also be able to make payments, plan tours, take ride and buy tickets and games, which entrepreneurs think will ultimately change the social and digital lifestyle of people.

"This will be an 'all-in-one app' and will save a huge amount of foreign currency as it will draw a huge volume of traffic that is currently using foreign social media outlets," said Mahboob Zaman, chairman of Kotha Technologies Limited that is developing the app.

The app has already been downloaded more than 30,000 times and a huge number of youths are showing interest by sharing photos and videos.

spacer.png

Bangladeshi customers are generating a lot of data now by using different digital services and this will soon turn into a minefield, said Zaman, a renowned technology entrepreneur and managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh.

"Certainly, data will be the next currency and if we have access to the data, people will experience drastic change in their lives," said Zaman, also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services.

Every year different social media platforms like Facebook and Google are earning thousands of crores of taka from Bangladesh by means of users' data and that helps the brands connect with their customers as well, said Tashfin Delwar, chief executive officer of Kotha Technologies.

Delwar said they are working to establish a network for the app where small entrepreneurs can open accounts and can run their business digitally like WeChat does in China. Owners of Kotha are also targeting the Bangla speaking community as it is the eighth most spoken language in the world.

Entrepreneurs of Kotha said Bangladesh's economic growth, government's willingness, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, change in consumer perception and internet penetration -- all were contributing positively to the government's vision of Digital Bangladesh.

Nonetheless, the country is still dependent on foreign services for social networking and communication, they said.

Mohaimin Mostafa, its chief marketing officer, believes that Kotha will make an impact and add value to people's life.

Kotha will offer the Bangladeshis their own social media and communication tool and promote use of Bangla language, he added. Delwar, the CEO, believes Kotha will gradually replace Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and other apps like these. 

 

https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/kotha-our-facebook-paypal-and-whatsapp-1867738

 

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12:00 AM, August 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:00 AM, August 27, 2020

Kotha app spreads wings to Sri Lanka

Mahmudul Hasan

kotha-app.jpg?itok=CQi2THId&c=889e6e58c1

Kotha, Bangladesh's maiden social and lifestyle app, is set to embark on a glorious maiden voyage from the Bay of Bengal to Indian Ocean's island Sri Lanka as part of the company's ambitions to be a continental superpower as a social networking service provider.

It has finalised a deal with Sri Lankan Next Day Technologies to establish a joint venture company to run the app in the moniker of Katha and the contract will be signed in September.

"This is a proud moment for Bangladesh as for the first time a homegrown social media and lifestyle app will now be available in another country," Mahboob Zaman, chairman of Kotha Technologies Limited, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Created by a team of Bangladeshi developers, software engineers and data scientists, Kotha has the mind-boggling capability to send messages, make voice calls, order grocery and food, stream music and movies and buy tickets, along with other functionalities.

It is similar to South Korea's Kakaotalk, China's WeChat and the Phillippines' Tantan.

The beta version of the Kotha app was rolled out on 12 February for both Android and iOS and has so far been downloaded about 1.5 lakh times.

"To me, Kotha is our Facebook, our PayPal, Netflix, Twitter and WhatsApp," said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, at the app's launch.

Another country has expressed interest in Kotha, according to Zaman.

"So we want to spread our app to different countries, particularly in Asia," he added.

Katha will have the Sri Lankan languages and customised to suit local preference. Kotha Apps & Technologies, which was initiated in 2015, will provide the full technology support for the Sri Lankan tie-up.

"As it is a joint venture, it will not only brighten the image of the country but we will also get a share of the profit," said Tashfin Delwar, chief executive officer of Kotha Technologies.

The Sri Lankan company, for now, has an e-commerce business and has a partnership with Dialog Axiata, a telecom company with a subscriber base of about 14 million. It also has a partnership with a top Sri Lankan mobile financial service provider.

"So, thousands of Sri Lankan users will be benefited from the platform."

The server of the app will also be controlled by Kotha Technology.

Delwar said Katha in Sri Lanka will have the same features that are in the app in Bangladesh: chat, post, feeds, free calls, stickers, lifestyle contents.

The joint venture latter will partner with different Sri Lankan entities to provide smooth service in payment and different lifestyle products and services.

Despite its designs to spread its wings, Kotha's main focus remains in targeting the Bangladeshi population.

"Indian government has banned many Chinese apps, including TikTok, and they now want to build a local app to replace them. In many countries around the world, people are preferring local tech platforms," Delwar said.

Kotha is constantly reviewing the recommendation of the users and able to provide more customised service for locals than the global tech giants like Facebook and others.

"We are a local entity and we know best what the people of this country want," he added.

For instance, Kotha on 14 April launched a virtual hospital -- HelloDoc -- where patients can consult doctors through video conferencing and have certain medical tests done at home to help the country fight coronavirus.

It also added a feature where users can see hospital information such as the availability of ICU beds in a hospital.

Bangladeshi customers are generating a lot of data now by using different digital services and this will soon turn into a minefield, said Zaman, a renowned technology entrepreneur and managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh.

Every year, different social media platforms like Facebook and Google are earning thousands of crores of taka from Bangladesh through users' data and that helps the brands connect with their customers as well, Delwar said.

If a locally developed platform gets the popularity, the data will be protected and save thousands of crores taka from flying out of the country.

"Certainly, data will be the next currency and if we have access to the data, people will experience a drastic change in their lives," said Zaman, also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services.

On data protection, Delwar said protecting user data is vital and so far, Kotha has handled it dextrously.

Kotha is also planning to introduce a new feature where a business account can be opened and it will help build local professional networking and selling products.

Small and medium entrepreneurs can sell their products through the app, he added.

Besides, there will be a digital marketplace in the app where content creators can sell their digital products and services.

To facilitate the service, Kotha is signing a deal with local mobile financial service provider bKash over payment integrating next week.

 

https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/kotha-app-spreads-wings-sri-lanka-1951705

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