Global market recession makes Bangladesh's software industry a very suitable harbor for outsourcing as many western and European companies shifted their focus on the country for low-cost IT services, sector insiders said on Sunday.
They said the country's software export has achieved hefty growth in recent months, as more than 400 software and IT companies are exporting their services to around 30 countries in the world.
President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Habibullah N Karim told Xinhua on Sunday, "Global economic downturn hastened export growth of our software industry."
"Bangladesh's software industry will become a 500 million U.S. dollars export earning sector by 2013-2014 fiscal year (July 2013-June 2014) if the current trend of robust growth continues," he said.
With nearly 100 percent growth, Karim said Bangladesh fetched over 14 million U.S. dollars from export of software in the first five months of the current 2008-09 fiscal year.
The country set 30 million U.S. dollars of software export target for the current fiscal year after the sector earned 24 million U.S. dollars in 2007-08 fiscal year which was 2.24 million U.S. dollars in 2000-01 fiscal year, he said.
Karim said Bangladesh has already become a large ground of potential human resources with bright aptitude, quality and natural ability in software development during the last few years.
Bangladesh's approximately 20 billion taka (about 285.71 million U.S. dollars) software industry currently employs nearly 20,000 skilled and semi-skilled professionals, he said.
A leading exporter Nahid Ahmed said although a majority of the companies are exporting software services to the North America, recently there has been encouraging performance by a good number of firms in European and East Asian markets, mainly Japan.
Following global companies' interest about Bangladesh's software industry, he said many local and foreign IT firms are investing for developing high-quality software taking advantage of low-cost work force here.
"We've found many global companies over the last few months to come and invest in the country as they think developing software here will help them to reduce their cost of operation and remain competitive in global market in the wake of economic downturn," Ahmed said.
Among the hundreds of export-focused companies, according to BASIS, at least 30 companies have been set up either as joint venture or as ODC (Offshore Development Center) with hundred percent foreign investment in the country in the recent past.
The BASIS, national trade association of software & IT services companies of Bangladesh, in its website also said the European Union has already ranked the South Asian country as one of the top20 outsourcing destinations in the world.
To meet the high quality standard of offshore jobs and comply with the expectation of overseas clients, the companies in Bangladesh are rightly focusing on putting in place global standard practices and processes, said Ahmed, also secretary general of BASIS.
Sector insiders said the country's new government's dream to make digital Bangladesh by 2021 will also help local software industry to grow as it is expected to provide more budgetary supports like tax and duty cut to woo more investment in the IT sector.
The Bangladeshi government currently provides 60 percent of the salary/allowance cost for recruiting interns (fresh graduates) by any software companies.
Bangladesh, which is now connected to Submarine Cable Network South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe-4 (SEA-ME-WE-4), has already brought all of its major cities and towns under high-speed and low-priced fiber optic backbone.