Consumer goods giant City Group is set to enter the booming IT sector with an initial investment of Tk5,000 crore in setting up a hi-tech park.
Biswajit Saha, executive director of City Group, said the government's Hi-Tech Park Authority on Thursday approved the conglomerate as a park developer, after conducting a feasibility study.
Work on setting up the hi-tech park on a 115-acre land in Demra, Dhaka will begin within the next two years, he said, adding that the investment target has been set at Tk5,000 crore to build the world's most modern IT park.
He said the establishment is expected to create employment opportunities for some 15,000 people.
Biswajit Saha said there will be a technology university, training institute, convention centre, 5-star hotel, playground, and infrastructures for the production of and research on electronics in the industrial park.
"Global tech giants, including Apple and Samsung, will be invited here. At the same time, City Group will establish its own ICT company."
On 31 May this year, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority declared City Hi-Tech Park as a private hi-tech park, City Group officials said.
As a result, investors in the park will get 14 incentives, including a 10-year tax holiday, through a one-stop service, they added.
Biswajit Saha said City Group has already completed the preparation of a master plan, feasibility study and environmental survey.
After being recognised as a developer, the industrial group will now get the opportunity to do all types of work, including developing all off-site and on-site facilities, landfilling, electricity, gas and water supply, construction of standard buildings, wide roads inside the park, lakes, high-quality food courts, STPs and parks, he added.
Md Hasan, director of City Group and chairman of City Hi-tech Park Ltd, said, "We will manufacture electronics and technology products that no one could even think of making in Bangladesh.
"We will encourage investments to set up units for making microprocessor, chip designing, circuit designing, manufacturing/assembling of mobile phones, laptops, televisions and fridges, software development, digital and technology consultancy firms, network, data centres, cybersecurity, programming, project management and training institutes for human resource development, etc. Dormitories and science parks will also be set up."
He also said construction work on the IT park has been initially targeted to be completed in 5-7 years.
Speaking on approving City Group for developing the hi-tech park, NM Ziaul Alam, senior secretary of the ICT Division, said City Group is a popular name in the country as well as abroad. Other companies in the country will also be encouraged to invest in the sector by seeing a big company like City Group coming forward to set up a hi-tech park, he observed.
City Group is a major conglomerate in the country's consumer goods production. At present, the business group caters to one-third of the total demand for consumer goods in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi businessman Fazlur Rahman founded City Group. Its activities started on 6 February 1972 with the production of mustard oil.
The leading business conglomerate in the country now has an investment in more than 25 large industries including food products, steel, printing and packaging, shipping, power and energy, financial institutions, insurance, stock market, hospitals and media.
The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority is establishing hi-tech parks, software technology parks and IT training and incubation centres throughout the country to attract local and foreign investors for the development of Hi-Tech/ IT/ITES industries, which are creating huge employment opportunities and producing skilled human resources.
Hi-tech parks offer opportunities to invest in the hi-tech industry and promote businesses that are knowledge- and capital-based. Information technology, software technology, biotechnology, renewable energy, green technology, IT hardware, IT-enabled services and research and development, etc are major areas of investment in the hi-tech industry in Bangladesh.
Currently, eight hi-tech parks are being set up by the government, which include Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City, Kaliakoir – the first and largest technological park of Bangladesh established on an area of 355 acres. The government is also setting up 12 IT/hi-tech parks at the district level.
Apart from this, the government has recognised two factories of electronics giant Walton as hi-tech parks.
Samsung's Narsangdi and Minister Group's Gazipur factories are also getting the same facility. These factories are enjoying the zero-tariff facility on imports of all kinds of equipment, apart from enjoying tax-holiday for 10 years.