Walton Hi-tech Industries Limited is going to relocate a Korean mobile phone manufacturing plant to Bangladesh which is scheduled to come into operation early next year, advisory director of the company, Mizanur Rahman, said on Sunday.
The handsets to be manufactured by the plant will be marketed under a local brand, he said.
Walton Hi-tech Industries Ltd is a local manufacturer of electronic appliances and motorbikes. Mizan said the Korean plant bought by the company ‘is a sophisticated plant that has been producing handsets of top brands including Nokia’.
He said the company had already started the process of relocating the plant to Bangladesh by February 2011.
The plant has a capacity of producing 5,000 mobile phones a day, Mizan told New Age. ‘We will utilise the capacity according to market demand,’ and low- to mid-cost handsets will be produced in the factory in the first phase, he said. ‘We will also go for manufacturing smart phones.’
According to a top executive of a leading mobile operator, the annual market size of mobile sets in Bangladesh is around four million pieces and worth around Tk 2,000 crore. Imported sets of various brands, mostly from China, cater to less than half of the market and the rest by smuggled cellphones.
Bangladesh saw its first local brand of mobile phone sets a couple of years back but Birds Mobile, made here by assembling imported Chinese parts, failed in competition with cheaper smuggled sets.
Walton’s Mizan expressed the hope that the competitive edge of carrying out the entire manufacturing in the country and the company’s strong market network would help Walton handsets to gain a good market share.
Walton set up the country’s first refrigerator, motorbike and television manufacturing plants. These products of the company have acquired a significant local market share and are also exported to countries like Myanmar, Sudan, and Qatar.