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Smartphone giant Xiaomi began assembling mobile phones in Bangladesh on Thursday at its Gazipur factory.

The factory was set up with $10 million in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the “Made in Bangladesh” scheme.

The factory will assemble 3 million units of smartphones annually.

The Chinese brand is also eyeing local production soon, said Xiaomi Bangladesh officials.

DBG Technology BD Ltd, a leading Chinese electronics manufacturing service (EMS) company, will assemble the smartphones in Bangladesh.

“The first phone of the company to be assembled in Bangladesh is under the Redmi sub-brand and it is expected to be available in the market from the first week of November. Subsequently, the POCO and Xiaomi series will be made in the country,” said Ziauddin Chowdhury, country manager, Xiaomi Bangladesh.

Xiaomi revealed its “Made in Bangladesh” plan at a special programme held in Dhaka on Thursday. Salman F Rahman, adviser to the prime minister on private industry and investment, and Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, attended the event.

Salman F Rahman said the partnership with Xiaomi will create more employment opportunities for the youth in Bangladesh.

“We are delighted to be a partner in setting up Xiaomi’s first manufacturing unit in Bangladesh as part of the Digital Bangladesh initiative. We believe that this partnership will create more opportunities for the country’s youth and establish a world-class electronics manufacturing ecosystem,” he said.

He urged the Chinese company to make Bangladesh a hub to produce their IT and electronic devices.

In a video message, Mustafa Jabbar, minister for posts and telecommunications, said local factories are meeting more than 65% of the total demand of smartphones in the country.

He also expressed strong hope that the smartphones produced by Xiaomi in Bangladesh will be exported, alongside meeting domestic demand.

“In addition to the investment-friendly environment adopted by the government, our talented youth have also attracted investors to set up mobile manufacturing plants of the world’s best brands,” Mustafa Jabbar added.

State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, “This is a great initiative. I believe that from now on the people of the country will be able to enjoy all the latest innovative products of Xiaomi at a competitive price.”

Xiaomi set up the factory here within three years of its journey in Bangladesh, which began in 2018.

Mobile handset manufacturing and assembling began in Bangladesh in 2017 when Walton started producing electronic products locally.

Later, cellphone giant Samsung as well as Symphony, and other brands started manufacturing in the country.

With Xiaomi’s new factory, there are now at least 10 local and global companies that are producing smartphones in Bangladesh.

As of now, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has issued 14 licences for setting up mobile manufacturing and assembling factories in Bangladesh.

Market insiders say Nokia is also expected to set up a factory in Bangladesh, but the brand has not announced anything yet.

Currently, there is a demand for 32 million units of mobile, of which 12 million units are smartphones, says Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPI).

According to Statcounter’s data, Xiaomi is now the second top mobile brand in Bangladesh’s smartphone market, having around 20% of the market share, while Samsung is in the top position with 30.46% share.

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