Sherpa Hossainy's Blog

First-ever laptop bazaar slowly packing a punch

Posted in Business, Computer, IT, Software, Technology by Sherpa Hossainy on October 22, 2011

Published in The Independent on 20 October 2011

Read the article on Independent website

Digital print version

With the motto of “Laptop in every house”, Bangladesh’s first dedicated laptop market is steadily pulling crowds while sales are yet to pick up to the expected level.

The Eastern Plus BCS laptop bazaar started on  October 13 in the city’s Shantinagar area with a view to creating a one-stop market for laptops, including notebooks, tablets, smartphones and portable computer accessories and software.

To kick it off, Eastern Plus Shop Owners Association and Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) has jointly organised a nine-day laptop fair until October 21 in the market, which showcases 52 global brands at 74 shops. While there is a plethora of visitors in the market, vendors are yet to be satisfied with the pace of sales.

“Many people are coming in and checking out machines, but we didn’t sell that many,” said Abu Siddik, an executive of International Office Machines Ltd, authorised dealer of Toshiba — one of the sponsors.

Sumon Al Mamun, branch in charge of Computer Source, the country’s one of the biggest PC vendors, said his stall had 2,000 visitors until Tuesday, but most of them only had queries about laptop prices.

“But I’m upbeat about the prospect of the market as desktop sales are going down and demand for laptops are shooting up day by day,” Mamun said.

Visitors checking out computers at Laptop Bazaar in Dhaka

Mustafa Jabbar, president of BCS, said doing some hurried sales is not the main motive of the fair; rather it is important to get many visitors and raise awareness.

“Computer is not like rice or daal. People will come and have a look, compare prices and then buy one. It might take a week or even a month for one to decide,” he said.

Jabbar, also chief executive officer of Ananda Computers, said he is happy with the turnout and the main purpose of the fair is served. “Before the laptop market this place was like a ghost house and now it feels so vibrant,” he said.

The visitors and prospective buyers were also satisfied with the dedicated laptop market.

Md Mazharul Haque, a business person, who wanted a laptop for official use, said he came to the fair to “have a look” and compare prices. “All the big brands are available here and I hope I’ll get a good quote,” he said.

Haque said these fairs should not only be capital-based and there should be rural versions so that mass people can come in touch with affordable technology.

Torsten Malmdorf, a Danish national, who also came to the fair to buy a laptop, said, “I came to know about the market from facebook. I’m still searching and comparing prices, but most laptops here are for low-end users,” he said.

Of all the laptop brands and models, the customers seemed eager to check out the newly unveiled domestically made laptop, Doel. The state-owned telecom company Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS) is producing four models of the laptop while the most basic one is priced at Tk 10,000 ($130). Bijoy Digital is the only shop in the fair authorised by the government for limited scale sales and display.

Tareq Ahmed, attendant at the Doel display corner, said, “There are so many customers who want to buy Doel, but there is not enough supply.” The most hunted model is Doel 1612, priced at Tk 27,000, he said.

“We are providing necessary information and taking bookings on the spot. But we have to deliver the laptops later,” Ahmed said.

SM Sobill Hossain, who works for Destiny 2000 Ltd, said he wanted to buy a Doel laptop for official use but the attendant said it will be available tomorrow. “This is a Bangladeshi product and it’s cheap. I want to be a proud user of my country’s product,” he said.

The BCS chief urged the government to formulate an effective policy and give distributorship to experienced computer vendors and said his company Bijoy Digital is interested in marketing Doel laptops.

“The government hasn’t yet got any marketing plan for Doel. If the government thinks Telegraph and Telecommunication Board will sell and market laptops, then those will stay in the warehouses.

“We sell computers, so we know best how to market those laptops,” Jabbar said.

Kazi Hasibur Rahman Shakil, general secretary of Eastern Plus Shop Owners Association, said this dedicated laptop market will save traffic hassles, time and money of the people living around the market area.

“In other computer markets people have to look around all over the market for laptops but here we have a dedicated floor. You can get everything in one place,” Shakil said.
Jabbar hoped that with the changing trends and rising awareness, Dhaka-centric computer markets will shift to district and rural areas. BCS will organise eight fairs all around the country from November to January to promote awareness, he said.

“The market trends are changing and it’s not at all desktop-based now. So laptops will be integrated with the rural scenario hopefully within two to three years,” he said.

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  1. Shaun said, on December 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm

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