NRBs seek to develop microchip industry | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:39 AM, February 28, 2019

NRBs seek to develop microchip industry

US-based sBIT Inc, an IT company with expertise on designing Internet of Things-enabling microchips and owned by non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), is planning to establish a firm in Bangladesh.

Informing this yesterday, Helal Muzumder, the company's vice president who migrated from Bangladesh over a decade ago, said he now wants to return and aid the country's development using their skillsets.

“We are going to invest a few hundred thousand dollars and by 2021 our investment in developing an IoT-based chip industry here will cross $5 million,” said Muzumder.

With this investment, sBIT Inc is targeting to assemble IoT-based microchips which can be used for assembling different electronic devices. Moreover, local people will be able to use cheap devices, he hopes.

He said once an IoT industry was established in Bangladesh, the market size would be worth an estimated $500 million by 2021.

Referring to a report of IT consulting firm Gartner, he said the total revenue generation in the world from the IoT industry would be $300 billion by 2020 while the number of connected devices 27 billion. sBIT Inc President and Chief Executive Officer Jahangir Dewan, also an NRB, said they were in talks with three to four prospective local investors and they could choose a suitable partner from Dhaka within one week.

“We have concerns over patent issues and the government needs to assure us that none will copy our products,” said Dewan.

Both Dewan and Muzumder were talking with The Daily Star on the sidelines of a two-day conference of NRB engineers ending at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka yesterday.

They met prospective local partners in different meetings on giving two presentations at a session styled “Entrepreneurship in Hi-Tech Industry”.

Another prospective investor, Md Enayetur Rahman, president and CEO of Ulkasemi Inc, also plans to invest in the segment and set up an office in Dhaka.

“We need to invest $200,000 within a year to start the business and that will help employ 50 engineers initially, which will ultimately reach up to 500 within the next five years,” he told The Daily Star.

All the investors raised concerns on patent issues, seeking protection of their ideas and technologies from being copied illegally.

Addressing the session as chief guest, Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, said they were welcoming and waiting to embrace NRBs and all of the investors' concerns would be mitigated.

“We have a copyright law and if needed, we will modernise it to address copyright issues,” said Rahman.

Every businessperson needs to understand that the IoT and artificial intelligence will change the whole business of the world and if Bangladesh fails to sync with it, it will miss the train of the fourth industrial revolution, he said.

Presiding over the session, Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, urged the NRBs to return with their expertise and invest as the country was running with huge demographic dividends.

“Some 65 percent of our total population's age is less than 35 years and this is our strength and you are in a position to grab the business,” she said.

The park authority has created a world-class investment ecosystem while huge tax benefits already exist, she said.

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