Category Archives: Emerging Industries

Bangladesh exports software to 30 countries: Abul Hossain

http://www1.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=7&id=255842&date=2012-06-10

Bangladesh exports software to 30 countries: Abul Hossain

SANGSAD BHABAN, June 10 (BSS) – Bangladesh software industry is expected to see a robust growth despite global economic recession.

Replying to a tabled question from treasury bench Bazlul Haque Harun of Jhalakathi-1, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Syed Abul Hossain said the country has earned US$ 31 million in fiscal 2009-10 and US$ 27 million in fiscal 2010-11 against the export of software in the world market.

At present Bangladesh is exporting software to 30 countries including Europe, America, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Australia and South Asia, he said.

The ICT minister said local IT professionals are producing and developing international standard software under the supervision of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) with assistance from the government.

Answering to another tabled question of Benzir Ahmad, MP of Dhaka-20, the ICT minister said the government is implementing a project to set up computer lab with Internet facility in the country’s 3,172 educational institutions aimed at developing IT literate human resource.

Besides, initiative has been taken to formulate necessary policy and guideline for introducing digital signature while office of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) has been established for issuing electronic signature.

To make the government’s services available for the mass people, the government has installed National Data Centre at Bangladesh Computer Council, he added.

H&M to raise apparel sourcing from BD

http://thenewnationbd.com/newsdetails.aspx?newsid=41140

H&M to raise apparel sourcing from BD
B&F Report

A Sweden-based clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced to increase its sourcing from Bangladesh, said Dow Jones Newswires quoting H&M Head Helena Helmersson. It also intends to launch a trial programme for the current and next year, the news agency stated.

H&M head said they have already informed the Bangladesh Government, its other stakeholders and clothing producers regarding their growth plans. However the ongoing labour unrest in the country is restraining suppliers from planning production, as strikes and protests often hamper production and cause delays, she added.

She said that a stable market would prove to be greatly beneficial for the company as well as its suppliers and workers.

The firm intends to utilize its power to build pressure on its suppliers in Bangladesh to improve work conditions, and push for constitution of democratic labour committees that can negotiate with factory workers on wages and working conditions.

Operating a network of more than 2,500 retail outlets in 44 markets across the world, with a staff of 94,000 people, H&M is a leading buyer of garments from Bangladesh. It currently sources around 25 percent of its products from Bangladesh and it intends to raise this volume in future.

Bangladesh has now emerged as a reliable readymade garment-sourcing destination for leading global retailers, due to its competitive prices.

A recent study undertaken by McKinsey, a leading research company in US, states that Bangladesh’s apparel exports are expected to grow almost two-fold by 2015 and three-fold over the next 10 years. This is because leading buyers from China are shifting to Bangladesh as capacity constraints and rising labour costs in China are eroding their profit margins.

Brac boys take PC games to new height

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=228249

Brac boys take PC games to new height

The Trio: Risul Karim demonstrates game controls, from inset left: Kamran Walilullah and Imran Farid.

Imrul Kayes Chowdhury

A team of three students from Brac University has developed a massively multi-player online (MMO) game for PCs that can be played by body movements and voice command. They claim that this is the first ever such MMO PC game in the world.

MMO is an internet multiplayer video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously.

The members – Risul Karim, Imran Farid and Kamran Walilullah- are all doing their 9th semester in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department.

Although they did not finalise any name for the game, they call it Aerial Multi-Player Dogfight.

In a demonstration Karim showed how a plane in the game can be controlled through hand gesture and voice command using a webcam and microphone. You can see the demo at http://www.pixelizard.com/projectcsr/

The game is built on Java ME 3 engine and they customised the engine to integrate the web cam and microphone.

He also said its voice command input is generic which means it takes command from both male and female.

The team now is working on to make a gaming server. After that they will make the game available for all. Karim hoped they would be able to launch it within two to three months.

Like other online multi-player games, gamers will be able to download them for free, however, for updates of the game there will be small online charges. Different other apps using this scheme will also be available online with small download charges.

“Anyone can play the game with Windows XP or later, a moderate graphics card, 2GB or 4GB RAM and of course web cam and microphone”, said Karim. He prefers a bit high quality web cam for smooth gaming experience.

Their game will also run on any operating systems such as Mac or Linux.

They started to develop the game 5-6 months back as an undergraduate thesis project. Karim said while developing it, they were thinking how to make it different from other MMO games.

“After doing a lot of online research, we found no MMO games that take both voice command and body movement instructions together”, said Karim.

He also said that although there are MMO games for gaming consoles (XBox- Kinect, PS3 MOVE) using body movements, there are no such games for PCs. Moreover, consoles and the games are expensive for lot of gamers, whereas, their game can be played on any PC with moderate configuration.

Then they came up with the idea of making a PC game that will take command from voice and body movements.

Waliullah did image processing, games and network coding and graphics, Farid did sound, graphics and game coding, and voice processing, graphics and game coding were done by Karim.

Supervised by Dr Mumit Khan, chairperson, CSE department, Brac University, the project won them 1st prize of National Innovative Project Competition (NIPC 2012), which was held at Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) on March 15.

Karim said their concept can be applied to many other areas. He said they have plans to develop ‘Battle Simulator’ for defence and therapy for autistic children with this module.

They are applying this gaming module to make a robot. Karim said the robot will be able to take command from voice and body gesture to execute the tasks given to him. They are already halfway through with the project.

Local motorcycles could grab Asia market

http://www.theindependentbd.com/business/others/88442-local-motorcycles-could-grab-asia-market.html

Local motorcycles could grab Asia market

A Bangladesh-manufactured Walton Motorcycle. Source: http://www.waltonbd.com/index.php/pages/phandler/single_product/pid/2/id/61

Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

DHAKA, JAN 5: The country’s emerging motorcycle industry could grab a significant portion of the Asian market if provided with proper government policy support, stakeholders said on Thursday.

The manufacturers, importers, dealers involved in the motorcycle industry demanded access to finance, energy security and infrastructure development to continue the industry’s impressive growth, which was 25 per cent last year. The stakeholders were speaking at a meeting on “Developing policy guideline for basic motorcycle manufacturing industry in Bangladesh” organised by International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) in the capital.

Md Mojibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission, was present as the chief guest. ABM Khorshed Alam, additional secretary at the Ministry of Industries, Md Shah Alam Khan, member (Customs), National Board of Revenue, and Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, president of IBFB, were also present.

M Kamal Uddin, director of Institute of Appropriate Technology, BUET, presented a keynote paper at the meeting.

“The tariff policy needs revision, especially the supplementary duties has to be reduced,” said Md Lokman Hossain, international marketing manager of Walton Automobiles, leading motorcycle manufacturer of Bangladesh.

“The bicycle industry gets 15 per cent cash incentives for exports, but we aren’t getting any. We have manpower and technology. We only need government’s support,” Hossain said. The raw material procurement policy and technology transfer mechanism should also be in place to rev up the industry growth, he added.

Motorcycle sales each year in the developing countries account for 90 per cent of the world consumption, Kamal Uddin in his paper said.

“Honda Motors of Japan dominated the Asian motorcycle industry because of their strong R&D, proper management and innovation,” Kamal said. The government has to formulate technology development and innovation policy and national skill committee to develop skilled manpower for this sector, he added.

China is currently leading the motorcycle production in Asia, accounting for 50 per cent of the total production of 17 million units per year.

India produces 5 million, Japan 1.5 million and Vietnam 2 million units per year.

Bangladesh motorcycle industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Stakeholders are expecting a 25 per cent annual growth in the next five years.

The domestic demand is met by imports from Japan, India, Taiwan, China and Pakistan.

Kamal said a regulatory body should be formed inside Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), with representations from FBCCI, BSTI, NBR and BUET, to coordinate among different bodies in the industry.

Bangladesh motor industry has three types of motorcycle suppliers: importers, assemblers and manufacturers.

The industry has three divisions: CBU (Completely Build-up Unit), CKD or SKD  (Completely or Semi Knocked Down) and manufacturing. Few local enterprises like Walton Automobiles and Runner Automobiles have taken initiatives to manufacture motorcycles locally.

Road Master Ltd, Honda and Bajaj are going to set up manufacturing plants soon.

Animated in Bangladesh: ToonBangla Ushers in a New Era

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=216688

Animated in Bangladesh: ToonBangla Ushers in a New Era

Top-bottom: “Murgi Keno Mutant”, ToonBangla's first short film, has already been well received at film festivals in the United States.. The studio has also animated two “Meena” stories.

Osama Rahman

The fact that the small animation industry in Bangladesh never really took off is of no surprise to industry insiders, considering the high costs of undertaking such animated projects and the lack of demand from the Bangladeshi TV channels for animation. Coupled with the fact that animation outsourcing is not possible until studios manage to build reputations for themselves by showing their films abroad, itself a long and ardous process; the animation industry has been perceived as being largely unfeasible. However, ToonBangla seems to be on the verge of changing the trend.

“Murgi Keno Mutant”, ToonBangla’s first short film, has already been well received at many film festivals in the United States. Furthermore, the film has also won Best Animation Film at the Offshoot Film Festival in Arkansas and Best Animation at the Rockport Film Festival in Texas.The short film, written by Nayeem Mahbub, has been screened at eight other film festivals and is slated to take part in two more in 2012. The tale of the killer mutant ninjas terrorising Bangladesh and the kung-fu chefs attempt to neutralize the threat has already entertained thousands and won the hearts of many animation enthusiasts. More importantly, it has brought recognition not only to ToonBangla, but the entire animation industry of Bangladesh.

Kazi Zahin Hassan, one of the men behind ToonBangla, credits the inspiration for this venture to Kamal Quadir, the founder of the now defunct Globe Kids which was the first animation studio of Bangladesh. Wholly funded by Kazi Farms Group, ToonBangla began as an experimental project back in July 2007. Apart from”Murgi Keno Mutant”, the studio also animated two “Meena “stories, directed and written by an Indian director. Furthermore, the studio has also worked on numerous other projects such as the animation work for “ Four episodes of My Friend Boo” series in flash and animation for TV commercials for Pran Magic Roll and Pran Bubble Gum.

“I thought that since animation is labour intensive, it should be possible to set up a studio in Bangladesh and outsource animation production from American animation studios,” says Kazi Zahin. However, he laments the problems the industry faces, pointing out the high start up costs as the main barrier to growth and entry. “Animation production is very expensive. At present, TVchannels in Bangladesh are not willing to pay for animated content, unless the production cost is paid for by a third party like UNICEF. We are experimenting with cheaper animation techniques which will make it possible to create animated properties at a price which is affordable to TV channels in Bangladesh,” Zahin adds.

The presence of a large number of animation enthusiasts in the country is evident. There are also numerous talented animators. However,without exposure, survival is impossible.“The only way for an animation studio to establish its reputation is to make short films and submit them to film festivals abroad,” says Zahin. “Building a reputation in this manner can take years. It has already taken us four years,” he further adds. But now with the release of “Murgi Keno Mutant: Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens” and the positive feedback it has received, ToonBangla is already looking to the future.There are plans to release more short films and in the long-term the studio hopes to collaborate with one of the large American or European animation studios as co-producer of an animated property. A short story competition is also being mooted, with the author of the winning entry being paid in order to obtain permission to use the story for a short film.

Indeed, ToonBangla maybe spearheading the Bangladeshi animation industry towards prominence but there is still a lot of work left.“We still have a long way to go. Right now we can only do 2D animation, meaning animation drawn on a flat surface. We are now training our artists in 3D animation. This will allow us to offer a much wider range of services,” asserts Zahin. He also shares some advice for animators, “Concentrate on perfecting your drawing skills. Only artists with excellent drawing skills can become animators. An artist who has not mastered perspective, human anatomy, and other technical drawing skills will be a mediocre animator.” With talks underway to telecast “Murgi Keno Mutant”on a Bangla channel in the near future, it seems that the animation industry of Bangladesh may finally be about to take off in a big way in Bangladesh.

Western Marine ready to export more vessels to Germany

http://www.theindependentbd.com/business/others/86693-western-marine-ready-to-export-more-vessels-to-germany.html

Western Marine ready to export more vessels to Germany
Author / Source : Staff reporter

Dhaka, Dec 26: Western Marine Shipyard, the country’s leading shipbuilding company, has launched another pair of ocean-going vessels for exporting to Germany.

The launching of these two vessels — EMSWATER and EMSFLOW—were carried out on December 23 and 25, says a press release. The company’s managing director, high officials and employees were present at the launching.

The two vessels with the total capacity of 10,400 DWT are the fourth pair of vessels in the series of twelve and will be handed over to the German buyer, Grona Shipping GmbH Germany in February 2012.

The previous three pairs were delivered in December 2010, March 2011 and July 2011, creating a history in the Bangladesh shipbuilding industry.

Western Marine has made a record in the shipbuilding history of Bangladesh by constructing eight sister vessels having a total tonnage of 41,600 DWT within the period of one year. This is believed that such vessels were built in the fastest possible time in Bangladesh.

The company struck an agreement with Grona Shipping on January 2008 for building 12 vessels. Each of these vessels is worth more than Tk 80cr. Since then the shipyard had been known all over the world as an international standard shipyard by achieving one of the highest worth foreign project in Bangladesh.

Saiful Islam, chairman of Western Marine, said, “I feel happy for such success. I thank the concerned persons who have contributed in making this project successful.”

McKinsey paints buoyant future for RMG exports

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=214751

McKinsey paints buoyant future for RMG exports

Star Business Report

Bangladesh’s apparel exports could triple by 2020 as European and US buyers plan to strengthen their presence in the country and new players enter the market seen as ‘next China’, according to a prestigious study.

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and trusted adviser to the world’s leading businesses, governments and institutions, said Bangladesh’s high growth at the readymade garment sector would continue for a decade.

The country’s sourcing market will get crowded amid incumbents buyers’ plan to stay for long and new markets are increasingly becoming important customers for Bangladesh, said the US-based company.

“Depending on how well the most severe issues can be managed, the market will realistically develop at an annual rate of 7-9 percent within the next ten years, resulting in an export value of

Full report in star business around $36 billion to $42 billion,” it said.

Bangladesh fetched $12.59 billion from garment exports in 2010-2011, accounting for around 80 percent of national exports and 13 percent of gross national product, according to government data.

Recently, McKinsey has conducted a study to review Bangladesh’s RMG growth formula. It is an extensive interview-based survey of chief purchasing officers from leading apparel players in Europe and the US, who account for $46 billion in total apparel sourcing value and covering 66 percent of all apparel exports from Bangladesh.

The study also included telephone-based survey of more than 100 local garment suppliers and in-depth research.

It said, while China is starting to lose its attractiveness due to a rise in costs of doing business, the sourcing caravan is moving on to the next hot spot. Costs have also increased significantly in other key sourcing markets, leading buyers to question their current sourcing strategies.

In 2010, China dominated RMG imports to Europe and the US, accounting for about 40 percent of the import volume in each region. But the McKinsey survey shows that CPOs almost unanimously favour moving some of their sourcing away from China. Fifty-four percent of them shared their plans to decrease their activities in the world’s second largest economy by up to 10 percent, while 23 percent stated that they sought to decrease their share of sourcing by more than 10 percent over the next five years.

“As western buyers search for the ‘next China’, they are evaluating all options to strengthen their proximity sourcing, moving on to Northwest China, Southeast Asia, and other Far East supplier countries. Bangladesh is clearly the preferred next stop for the sourcing caravan.”

It said other markets in Southeast Asia will increase their exports too, but will not be able to replace — at least in the near future — Bangladesh as a viable RMG sourcing hub.

Bangladesh offers the two main “hard” advantages — price and capacity. It also provides satisfactory quality levels, especially in value and entry-level mid-market products, said the research firm.

All CPOs named price attractiveness as the first and foremost reason for purchasing in Bangladesh, and said the country’s price levels will remain highly competitive in the future.

Half of the CPOs mentioned capacity as the second-biggest advantage of Bangladesh. With a current 5,000 RMG factories employing about 3.6 million workers, the country is clearly ahead of Southeast Asian suppliers in terms of capacity offered (e.g., Indonesia has about 2,450 factories, Vietnam 2,000, and Cambodia 260 factories).

Other markets, such as India and Pakistan, would have the potential to be high-volume supply markets, but high risk or structural workforce factors prevent utilisation of their capacity.

A high share of European CPOs strongly emphasise the advantages of sourcing in Bangladesh due to favorable trade agreements, with the broadening of the EU Generalised System of Preferences rules on duty-free imports of garments from the country.

Taking these drivers into account, Bangladesh’s RMG industry will continue to face growing demand. The CPOs of value players want to increase the value of their sourcing in Bangladesh by about a 10 percent annual growth rate, whereas mid-market players plan an annual growth rate of around 14 percent.

While Bangladesh represents some very promising advantages in certain dimensions, a number of challenges could create hurdles for companies seeking to source from the country.

For all business stakeholders, infrastructure (transport and utilities supply) is the single largest issue hampering Bangladesh’s RMG industry. The power supply issue seems more likely solvable within the next two or three years, although 90 percent of local suppliers rate the current energy supply as very poor or poor.

Some 93 percent of the European and US CPOs interviewed agreed that the compliance standard in Bangladesh has somewhat improved (67 percent) or strongly improved (26 percent) within the last five years. However, gaps exist and new risks may be emerging.

A gap between customer requirements and supplier capabilities or investment plans is emerging, as currently only 50 to 100 local garment manufacturers are able to produce at an advanced level in terms of product categories, productivity, services and compliance.

Apart from a lack of investment in new machinery and technologies, the current insufficient size of skilled workforce also impedes an increase in productivity and a move towards more sophisticated products.

Experts estimate that there is currently a 25 percent shortage of skilled workers in Bangladesh’s RMG industry.

Also, existing challenges will multiply if suppliers are not able to fill higher-skill middle management positions, according to McKinsey.

The European and US CPOs say economy and political stability are one of the key areas of risk when sourcing in Bangladesh. About half of them said they would reduce the value of their sourcing in the country if political stability was to decrease. A majority of them sees corruption as a major hurdle for doing business in Bangladesh.

It says productivity needs to improve to close the existing productivity gap in comparison to other sourcing countries.

The McKinsey study said the potential for Bangladesh’s RMG growth can be realised only if the challenges in areas of infrastructure, compliance, supplier performance and workforce supply, raw materials, and economy and political stability are tackled.

The study notes the three main stakeholders — government, suppliers and buyers — can accomplish the development potential and solve Bangladesh’s RMG growth formula. “Only if wholehearted efforts are led by all stakeholders together, will the stage be set to support a future ‘rebranding’ of Bangladesh.”