Mobile sets are imported to Bangladesh as parts and sold in grey markets. The parts are later accumulated and then sold as brand new in the market. To make the products convincing to consumers, original packets are further imported.
According to concerned authorities, the situation is applicable only for expensive phones. iPhone is on the top of the list over Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo. Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers’ Association (BMPIA) say price reduction will take place when expensive mobiles will be produced in the country. Then the import of sets in this way will be reduced. It will be difficult to increase prices of expensive sets.
The association further says the process was halted in the past, but recently it has started again. Mobile parts are being imported by courier service from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
BMPIA President Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub said “Original packets cannot be produced here. Copied packets can easily be detected. Since the phones are expensive, consumers are very concerned. Production of mobile sets may start in the country from next June.”
He further said 99 percent Iphones come through grey markets. Among them 40% come as part. 20% of Samsung imports come through grey markets. However, there is no warranty on these phones.
In an example, he said the tax on a phone that costs Tk50,000 is around Tk15,000. If it is sold with profit, it will cost Tk70,000 to Tk75,000. But mobile sets that are imported in parts can be bought at Tk65,000. Hence, legal importers face heavy competition too.
More than 50lakh mobile sets are imported to the country every year. 20-25% of them are smartphones. BMPIA sources say the worth of mobile sets in the country is Tk8000cr and 25% is imported illegally.
According to Xiaomi Bangladesh CEO Dewan Kanon, at least 5000 packets are imported to bangladesh every month. Customs should detain them.
The article was first published on banglatribune.com