Interview with Xiaomi country GM
Smart Phones to Expand Economy
Staff Reporter :
Not only that we are now using the smartphone for communication, it has also become an essential part of our life. Smartphone is accelerating economic activities through various services including e-commerce and ride sharing. Smartphone and internet services need to be made more accessible to the customers of this country for the expansion of the economy. There was even more thinking about the tax barrier that the government had imposed on smartphone imports and Internet services.
Ziauddin Chowdhury, country General Manager (GM) of Xiaomi Bangladesh, said this in an interview with The New Nation recently.
Q. What are the probabilities and real picture of Smartphone market in Bangladesh?
A. The smartphone market in Bangladesh is big and many brands are working here and trying to do their best. But I still see the dominance of feature phones. It is the opposite picture of the developed world. Nonetheless since our population is very dense, and economic activities are increasing day by day, we expect a large portion of feature phone market to lean on to smart phones very soon.
Q. What might the ratio be?
A. I cannot say to you about ratio at this moment. It may be 1: 4 or nearby. A large number of people still use feature phones here. This also creates probabilities. Also new technologies are coming in. With the advent of 4G, new content has also come out. It is not only that we are now using smart phones for communication, it has become an essential part of life. The content is being pushed towards us and from that point I would say that the market is quite good. However, the flagship phone market has not yet been fashioned that way. Entry range to mid-range market is fairly good. There are many local companies as well as international companies here. Therefore, there is enough healthy competition in the market which will benefit the customers at the end of the day.
Q. What do you think the size of the whole market can be?
A. Since there is no accurate data available. But from IDC's report, we get an idea of our market share. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we had a market share of 8.2 percent which is the third largest market share in the country.
Q. Smartphone is one of the best digital companions for achieving the dream digital Bangladesh. How much of the new taxation structure is in line with the plan to create a digital Bangladesh?
A. When competition is high in the market, brands want to minimize costs and at the end of the day. The consumers benefit from it. Likewise, any kind of taxation increases the price, affects the customers' interests. That is, it has the fear to affect the smartphone market in some way.
Q. How are e-commerce, ride sharing and social media increasing the importance of smartphones?
A. It is related to each other. One thing to consider is whether operators are expanding the network. As the network increases, the penetration of smartphones in the market will also increase. When an operator is expanding the network, it is also worth considering whether it is affordable or not. For example, we have made our smartphone affordable but then when people will consume data they find that it is not cheap. In that case, customer demand will not be met. Then again if smartphone and data are affordable, but there is no content, people will not be able to have the full experience of smartphone or data.
Q. Are there any plans to set manufacturing factory?
A. It is hard to comment about it. But Xiaomi is committed to establish local brand in Bangladesh and we are continuously investing to provide the best product in honest pricing.
Q. How much progress has the local brand made?
A. We are seeing that some brands are already competing. A few SKD factories have been built and the current structure of taxation encourages production. In fact, this subject matter needs more time to comment on for me.
Q. Is the tax limit set for you is ok or did you need some more time?
A. As an international brand, we are little worried about the increase in taxes. We need some more time. Because the results of those who are working to expand the industry, need to be observed first. I think it needed to be observed if enough manpower have been created.
Q. What else can come in the future like e-commerce, ride sharing?
A. IoT is not yet strong in our country. Xiaomi has the most IoT connected devices. The market is quite large. Smartphones are still connected to softwares in Bangladesh. But in developed countries, smartphones are also connected to the hardware, which makes the IoT in those countries very strong. Life will become much easier if IoT is integrated.