Why Bangladesh
  • With a large number of young IT skilled workforce conversant in English, Bangladesh is one - Asia's most attractive IT outsourcing destinations after India-particularly for Anglophone countries.
  • A good number of IT companies in Bangladesh have already built successful track records of working for reputed clients over the world. Currently around 150 IT companies in Bangladesh are exporting to over 30 countries. Out of these IT companies, nearly two-thirds service clients in USA.
  • Bangladesh offers significant cost advantages for IT outsourcing-both in terms of worker-wages as well as cost of infrastructure.
  • Salary of programmers in Bangladesh is 50% of that in India, 40% of Philippines and 70% of the Vietnam.
  • Charges for Internet bandwidth in Bangladesh is currently the lowest on South Asia (50% of that in India).
  • Rent for office space in Dhaka(Capital) is below 20% of that in Delhi and 40% of Manila.

In Crain's New York Business, a front page article titled "Outsourcing Moves to Bangladesh" discusses how Bangladesh is a rising star in the international economy with industrial analysts from Goldman Sachs to Cisco Systems predicting that it has high potential to follow in the successful economic steps of the giant next door - India.

Presently Bangladesh exports and provides the services:
  • Multimedia products development.
  • Digital Brochure & Digital Magazine.
  • 2D/3D Presentation and Animation.
  • Audio and Video Editing.
  • Cartoon Animation.
  • Customized Database Application.
  • Enterprise Resource Solutions.
  • Legacy Application development.
  • Banking and Financial Solutions.
  • Device Driver development.
  • Smart Card Solutions.
  • Web Programming.
  • Web Content Writing.
  • Web update & Related services.
  • Pre-press Graphics Design.
  • CAD/GIS Services.
  • Architectural Design.
  • Data Entry services.
  • Medical transcription processing (All types)
  • Bank Officer Services or Call centre services.
Supply of Workforce to Software and ITES Industry's HR Pool in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a population of over 150 million. The ages of population are rather younger; significant portion of the population belongs to the productive age group between 16 to 35 years. Therefore, Bangladesh has prosperous population distribution in terms of age group workforce. Similar to Indians, Bangladeshis traditionally have higher mathematical aptitude and superior logical & analytical abilities.

  • Over 15,000 IT engineers are working in over 400 software and IT service companies, around 150 of these companies are specialized in serving overseas clients.

Specialized IT Education in Bangladesh is well established at the graduation and post graduation levels. Bangladesh now confers academic degrees including postgraduate and doctoral degrees in the ICT subjects in more than 100 institutions including universities, colleges and institutes. According to the Ministry of Education, there are 73 universities in Bangladesh and more than 60 universities offer IT-related courses. These universities, colleges and institutes yearly produce more than 6,000 graduates major in IT related fields. About 2,500 among them are students who majored in computer science or software engineering. Students of prestigious universities such as University of Dhaka and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology are conferred with many awards every year in various international contests on computers and software.

The Government has already opened VOIP and WiMax for voice & data communication and is planning to adopt 3G technologies by the year 2018. Growth of telecom sector has been extremely high and penetration of Internet has increased 5 times during the last one year.

Beside these universities, colleges and institutes, there are about 300 training/education centers that provide IT technology and technique, which contribute to develop human resources for software and ITES industries in Bangladesh. These centers supply abundant workforces to the ITES industry such as graphic design, DTP, website design, engineering drawing, website publishing and network maintenance.It is one of the most positive decisions that the Government has made Compulsory learning of ICT from the sixth grade. We are going to have our digital education system within the quickest possible time.

  • A large part of these IT graduates also possess global IT vendor certifications (e.g.. from Microsoft, Cisco Oracle, Sun) on top of their academic degrees.
  • Excellence of IT workforce from Bangladesh is well-accepted fact at home and aboard. Over 10,000 IT professional from Bangladesh are working successfully in various IT companies in USA including Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Sun, Oracle, Texas Instruments, Cisco, Nortel and Lucent-to name a few.

Government of Bangladesh is playing a dynamic role to generate routine operations, strategic planning, research and knowledge mining regarding the growth of software and IT service industry in the country. Government's "thrust sector" initiatives for ICT include exemption of income tax, value-added tax, and customs duty for ICT industry establishment of national ICT policy, organizing the ICT National Taskforce (the chair is the Prime Minister) establishment of ICT incubation center, long-term equity fund and short term working capital financing, enactment & Copyright Law etc. Several pilot initiatives are being formulated and implemented under intense supervision o respective Government agencies. Waiver of all taxes and duties from import of computer hardware and software: increased affordability and proliferation of PC use in general. PC/Server market has seen an escalating growth rate followed by the desktop and X86 server segments in last two years. Special Hi-Tech and Software Technology Parks are being built by the government to facilitate all the infrastructural supports needed by outsourcing companies.

With tremendous potential yet to be exploited, it is anticipated the global sourcing phenomenon will continue to expand in scope, range and geographic coverage. As global delivery matures, multi-location strategies will become the norm and most sourcing destinations, including emerging locations, will develop in volume.

Government Policies & Supports
The Bangladesh Government has taken initiatives to build an ICT-driven nation comprising a knowledge-based society. In view of this, a countrywide ICT infrastructure is being developed to ensure access to information by every citizen to facilitate empowerment of people, and enhance democratic values and norms for sustainable economic development. Information technology has become one of the thrust sectors of the government's short and long-term planning.

Government and private sectors are increasingly going for mass automation with an aim to embrace e-Digital Government with its huge base of skilled resources. Cyber Law and Intellectual Property Rights Law are well-defined, up-to-date and have been formulated in the parliament to cover the agreement required in most outsourcing projects. Moreover, the policy makers are emphasizing on the necessity of financing ICT ventures by banks and other institutions. EEF, a unique venture capital projects finance the ICT and ITES venture with interest free equity partnership. Banks also provide soft-loans for export projects.

European Union's recent investment in technology infrastructure in Bangladesh has given rise to a wave of start-ups specializing in web and software development. In the recent National Export Policy (2009-12), the government has declared software as one of the six 'high priority' export sectors for the economy. Corporate in-come from software business has been kept completely tax-free till tune 2011. It is assured that the tax free period will be further extended.

The Government has already opened VOIP and WiMax for voice & data communication and is planning to adopt 3G technologies by the year 2018. Growth of telecom sector has been extremely high and penetration of Internet has increased 5 times during the last one year.

The proposed Kaliakoir Hi Tech Park, which is envisioned as an integrated, ultra modern techno township, situated at Gazipur, alongside the Dhaka-Tangail expressway covering an area of 232 acres. Another ICT village is being planned to be implemented, at Mohakhali of the Capital City of Dhaka with the public-private partnership. More ICT villages and Special Economic Zones are also planned. One of the proposed ICT villages is to be located at Khulna, which is a divisional city in the western part of the country.

To support the Software Development Sector Government provides financial support (60% of the salary/allowance cost) for recruiting interns (fresh graduates) by any software companies. For this program which started in 2005, Government has allocated budget for 1,000 interns for every year.

In along with these, Government has set up the National ICT policy with the following objectives:

  • Promote and facilitate use of ICT in all sectors of the economy for transparency, good governance and efficiency improvement.
  • Develop a large pool of world-class ICT professionals to meet the needs of local and global markets.
  • Promote use of ICT by providing special allocations for ICT project implementation in the public sector. Train the decision makers in ICT use and promote an ICT culture.
  • Provide effective incentives for development of ICT sector to both local and foreign entrepreneurs.
  • Develop an efficient ICT infrastructure that provides open access to international and national networks.
  • Establish legislative and regulatory framework for ICT issues like IPR, data security and protection, digital signature, e-Commerce, ICT education etc. as well as to ensure quality ICT education provided by different private organizations.
  • Set up national databases that are reliable and easily accessible to all the people of the country.
  • Set up an ICT organization at the highest level to continuously promote and foster ICT Industry.
  • Enact Laws and Regulations for uninterrupted growth of ICT, in conformity with World Trade Organization (WTO) stipulations.

Coming of age of the software & ITES industry for Bangladesh
In the Anglophone world, Bangladesh ranks third by population behind India and Pakistan (only marginally). This puts Bangladesh high on the list of countries that are poised to benefit from the burgeoning global trade in outsourced ICT services. Although Bangladesh is a relatively recent entrant in the global ICT outsourcing market, we have made great strides in this market over the last ten years. Bangladesh toady has more than three hundred software & IT enabled services firms serving clients in more than thirty countries in four continents.

The World Bank in a recent study projected Bangladesh ICT services export at more than five-hundred million US dollars by 2014. International Trade Center, a UN agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, in their study last year projected IT enabled services export to reach one-hundred-fifty million US dollars by 2011. The domestic market is also set for a robust growth due to rapid expansion of ICT-based citizen services and heightened awareness for ICT-led productivity and efficiency growth in the private sector.

The software and IT enabled services in Bangladesh is also blessed with a large number of young, enterprising and well-educated entrepreneurs who are passionate about ICT entrepreneurship and will surely keep this industry here thriving for many years to come. The present democratically elected government is fully committed to the development of the ICT sector as evidenced by their several ICT related pledges in their election manifesto. They have expressed their willingness to harness the power and utility of information and communication technologies to improve efficiency and transparency in the government; generate employment; and enhance the quality of education, commerce & citizen services in the country.

Opportunities in ICT Business of Bangladesh

(A glimpse from the SWOT Analysis of the sector)

  • Presence of Skilled workforce
  • Cost value proposition
  • Convenient time gap between US and ours (a strong advantage for IT enabled sector)
  • Remarkable government Incentives in terms of Tax and other benefits
  • Low cost compared to competition
  • Employees are devoted compared to competition, and eager to deliver quality.
  • Potential pool of skilled workforce and easily convertible to technology changes
  • Workable English Skills
  • Large population which ensures large number of potential talent IT workforce with Competitive cost
  • Our education system ensure human resource development with strong analytical ability and good English
  • Regularity and infrastructure support is increasing from Govt. sector
  • Large (trainable) population segments
  • English efficiency (compared to other similar outsourcing destination))
  • Eagerness to learn among IT professionals
  • Demographical
  • -  Young population, High penetration of English, Time zone advantage
  • Skill
  • -  Bangladeshi participant do well in all global IT programming, competition, fast learner and adopter of new technologies eg Bangladeshi companies adopted Object Oriented Programming in early 90's
  • Govt policy
  • -  0 Tax, Fine ICT policy, declared IT as strategic sector
  • Infrastructure
  • -  Whole country is under wireless & Sum-marine broadband backbone with a sectoral growth more than 200% last couple of year
  • Cost of business
  • -  Salary level of IT professional one of the lowest in the world, low attribution rate

  • Growth of matching outsourcing market
  • Large number of Educational Institutions offering computer courses
  • Circumstantial opportunity due to increase in India's price and geographically located.
  • Time gap advantage...
  • Identified as Thrust Sector by govt.
  • Capitalizing NRB's who work in overseas High Tech industry
  • Internet and telecommunication user growing very fast
  • Stable growth local and regional market
  • Untapped local IT market
  • Government incentives for IT industry growth
  • Market segment of outsourcing left by India etc. as they are moving towards higher segments

Supply of Workforce to Software and ITES Industry's HR Pool in Bangladesh