South Korean tech giant Samsung has started its first air conditioner (AC) manufacturing plant in Bangladesh with a goal to manufacture 30,000 units annually.
AC units manufactured in the plant – owned by Samsung's country distributor Fair Electronics and located in Narsingdi – will have a 30% value addition, and the retail price is expected to drop by 25%-30% as a result, Fair Electronics Chairman Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub said.
"We will increase the annual production target of Samsung AC units to 1 lakh in the next five years," Ruhul Alam told The Business Standard, adding that Fair Electronics has previously been assembling Samsung ACs, but it will now manufacture them.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak inaugurated the plant as the chief guest on Wednesday, in the presence of South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun and Managing Director Samsung Electronics Bangladesh Hwansung Woo.
At the event, the Fair Electronics chairman said, "We are inaugurating this latest Samsung AC manufacturing plant to fulfill the demand of our customers while retaining affordability.
"This factory will generate employment and bring foreign currencies by exporting AC units and other consumer electronics," he added while expressing his gratitude to the state minister for ICT.
Meanwhile, Fair Electronics' Chief Marketing Officer Mesbah Uddin said, "The Samsung AC manufacturing plant in Narsingdi will create 200 more jobs for technicians alone. We are looking forward to producing 1 lakh AC units by 2025.
"We are going to use the latest technology called 'T-series' in our ACs, which will make the products more eco-friendly and they will consume less electricity."
Bangladesh currently has an annual market demand for 5 lakh AC units, and a large portion of the units are being imported. Along with Samsung, Walton is among the only two companies that manufacture AC units in the country.
The market leader in AC unit sales is Walton, followed by General from the UK.
Samsung's new factory in Narsingdi will help Fair Electronics take a larger portion of the AC market in Bangladesh, Mesbah said, adding that more than Tk50 crore has been spent on machineries alone to upgrade this factory.
About 1,700 workers are presently employed in the manufacturing plant, where mobile phones, refrigerators, televisions and AC units are being produced.
At the programme, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, "We have manufacturing import-subsidised products with collaboration from Samsung. Soon we will begin exporting these products too after meeting the local demand."
Fair Electronics – a concern of Fair Group – is the authorised manufacturer of Samsung mobile phones and consumer electronic products in Bangladesh.