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Smartphones Are Pretty Cheap, Yet Unaffordable For Most Average Bangladeshi

Bangladesh has been experiencing an incredible mobile handset growth for the last couple of years. Until 2012, this growth was largely dominated by basic phones. But since 2013, smartphones have started to pick up and now dominates the market.

The affordable pricing of Chinese manufactured phones has contributed largely to this growth. At $123, the average retail price of a smartphone in Bangladesh is the lowest among 17 developing markets analysed by Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report for 2016.

Yet, most average people in Bangladesh can’t afford smartphones in Bangladesh. As Meeker shown by calculating the average cost of devices as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) per capita at 2014 levels. GNI is country’s GDP combined with its international income.

How affordable smartphones are in developing countries?

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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