A major local IT firm is planning to introduce a Tk 10,000 laptop brand in the local market by next month, targeting the country’s largely untapped lower income group, sources said Friday.
Ananda Computers, which is the pioneer of Bengali language interface software ‘Bijoy’ and Bangla keyboard, is looking to unveil its own brand of laptop computer in the market by the end of June, company officials informed.
The low-cost laptop, targeted at mostly the students as well as lower income group, will hit the market within three or four weeks and will retain the same brand name of all previous Bijoy products, they said.
“The laptop will include extensive features for Bengali language interface like Bijoy software and therefore would be ideal for customers who frequently use Bengali language on the computer”, Mostafa Jobbar, who is the founder patron of Ananda Computers told FE.
The brand’s retail price at Tk. 10,000 will be the cheapest laptop, available so far, in the local market.
“The laptop will be a great step towards better accessibility of personal computers among the local population”, Jobbar said.
“It would make PCs more affordable for the lower income customers, those who form the majority of our population. But owning a computer still remains a luxury item for them”, he added.
Only four percent of Bangladeshi households own a personal computer, which makes the country’s PC penetration rate one of the lowest in the world.
Affordability has often been cited as a major issue for the low penetration rate, as the usual retail price of brand PCs is well above the income level of the common people.
Lately, there have been calls from government and private levels to introduce low cost laptop PCs as the country is aiming for greater accessibility of information technology facilities at its grass root level.
Jobbar said that his latest move will help address the issue by offering PCs at an unprecedented low price which could be well within the affordability of a greater number of Bangladeshis.
“Students in the rural areas will be especially benefited by these low-cost computers”, Mostafa Jobbar said, adding “although the devices will be assembled abroad, it would maintain our own specified requirement”.
Once unveiled, the Tk. 10, 0000 Bijoy brand is also likely to ignite a price war in the local PC market where the retail price of laptop is already drastically going downward, driven by the growing popularity of cheaper laptops among the new buyers.
Until now, the lowest available retail prices of some brands of laptop PCs are reported to be ranged between Tk. 22,000 and Tk. 24,000.
“Cheaper integrated devices in the international market and the resulting lower production cost is bringing down the price of laptop at home and abroad”, Jobbar said, adding “this, in turn is making computers more affordable for the mass consumers in the third world”.
“This, however, could be made even more affordable if the government withdraws the import duty and other relevant taxes on computer devices”, he added.