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Information Technology in Bangladesh

E-Commerce
PAGE INDEX
Introduction Banking on the Web Web Banking Memberships NGO's on the Web Components 1999 Observations Hotels

Introduction
Many Bangladeshi companies currently distribute their images through the Internet to clients all over the world, but the monetary transactions take place through conventional means. Some companies put messages on bulletin board, on ' internet yellow pages' with email links, and sometimes web pages, but there never is a place to submit a credit card. This is because currently the government does not permit credit card charges over the internet. However, the ISPs in Bangladesh do have the technology for e-commerce, and are anticipating governmental approval within the next year (12).

E-commerce sites needed too be hooked up to a merchant bank account. A merchant bank account allows a company to accept and process credit card transactions. All businesses that use electronic credit cards need to be hooked up to their merchant account. For example, in a grocery store, when one swipes a card through the card swipe machine, machine is hooked up to the grocery store's merchant account. Page Index | Site Index

Banking on the Web: Not Today!


Though there are 28 banks in bangladesh, mostly head quartered in Dhaka (7).(, only a select few have web pages. Listed below are the names of the few that do have sites. However, most of these banks do not offer online or electronic service such as Direct Deposit. There are some ATM machines, though not nearly as concentrated as in the United States. Arab Bangladesh Bank Ltd. The first private bank of Bangladesh with a long standing experience in domestic and international banking. Its 53 branches in all the major commercial centers of the country and 152 correspondents worldwide provide proficient banking services to its customers (1). Grameen Bank This bank provides no on line transactions, but has the best web site of all the banks in Bangladesh (4). Standard Chartered Bank Worldwide bank, with some services available for customers living in Bangladesh: Current Accounts, Overdrafts, Foreign Currency Term Deposits, Local Currency Cash Checks, Check Purchase, Drafts, Savings Accounts, Term Deposits, Telegraphic Transfers, Traveler's Checks, and Personal Loans (5). ANZ Grindlays Bank Limited Grindlays is the oldest bank in Bangladesh dating back to 1905 when one of its forebears, the National Bank of India, opened a branch in Chittagong. Today, there are 10 branches of ANZ Grindlays Bank and 4 cash offices in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Narayanganj (6). National Bank Ltd This is the governmentally run bank. It had a site but it was taken off due to non payment of web development bill. Page Index | Site Index

GIIC MEMBERSHIP
Asia is the fastest growing regional market in the world for information and communications services. The first GIIC Regional Meeting brought together senior government officials from 20 Asian economies, including Bangladesh, private sector business leaders, regional organizations, academics and technical experts to share experiences, and review best practices to help develop an information infrastructure to promote economic and social development in the region. The conference focused on the use of telecom and IT in health care and telemedicine, education and human resources development and the management of government services. Bangladesh has accepted the obligations of Article VIII of IMF Articles of Agreement which means removal of all restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions. By accepting these obligations, Bangladesh has given a clear signal to the international community that it would pursue sound economic policies, and thereby create a congenial climate for investment (8). Because of this potential influx of investment, one can only conclude that electronic payment systems are only a short breath away from becoming part of the Bengali way. Page Index | Site Index

NGOs ARE ON THE WEB


Ikota Forum in Bangladesh is an NGO that represents 14 producer organizations that represent 75,000 women. They have a web site produced entirely in Bangladesh. The site shows many of the products, all of which were made by very poor people in remote rural settings in Bangladesh. Page Index | Site Index

E-COMPONENTS: POWER, HARDWARE, COMMUNICATION (10)


BANGLADESH'S PUBLIC POWER SECTOR IS INADEQUATE Overloading and lack of maintenace cause frequent outages and necessary planned blackouts. How can a country like this be able to provide E-commerce, when the main component, "e," is never there! THE GOVERNMENT HAS SIGNED 3 AGREEMENTS Bangladesh began to purchase power in 1998 from private companies in the U.S. The country has significant natural gas reserves, but the inadequate gas transmission system, as well as electricity transmission system, is a bottleneck to growth in this area. The gas company has signed exploration and development agreements and aid is coming in from the ADB and World Bank. A new major gas pipeline built in 1997 could also mean a end to some of the power problems. In

addition, transformers, wood poles, insulators, surge protectors, line tools and other parts needed for the electricity transmission system are being brought into the country. THE MARKET FOR COMPUTER HARDWARE, PERIPHERALS IS INCREASING AT A 15%-20% There are approximately 90,000 desktop PCs in Bangladesh. In 1998, the duties on imports were eliminated, decreasing prices 30-40% and increasing sales. Thus, hardware needed for e-commerce is coming in headstrong. THE COUNTRY'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES ARE INADEQUATE. 60% of the lines are analog, and the quality of the service is poor; there is a 30% connectivity rate. EFFORTS ARE SLOWLY UNDER WAY TO UPGRADE There are plans for expansion of the domestic and international capacity. A Japanese firm is completing the installation of 67,000 digital lines in Dhaka, with more on the way. Private companies were allowed to enter the market as of 1997, and email and ISP providers are now available in Dakar. BTTB has proposed other upgrades, such as fiber optics, but there is a budget constraining this idea. 70,000 telephone lines have been installed in rural bangladesh, most of which are cellular. The Jamuni Bridge, built in 1998, connects east and west Bangladesh for the first time ever. It hosts communication cables so that e-commerce may one day live in Bangladesh. Page Index | Site Index

1999 OBSERVATIONS
Ive personally seen about 20 Internet sites whose hosts are located in Bangladesh. The big ones are Bangla.net and Banladeshonline.com. Some services include internet access, internet fax, network setup, web page design, and hosting. Many of these ISPs also provide other computer services, such as CDROM development. At http://www.citechco.net, there are several items, such as the I-mac, that I can almost buy. The site has a "buy now" button, but no link with that button that takes me to a page where I can enter my credit card information. Many companies have web sites where they market a product, but to purchase it you have to actually come into the store or mail in a check. This is because of the government's current restriction on e-commerce, which is expected to be resolved soon.

One thing that is interesting to note: Several sites, such as eDhaka.com, the "Bangladeshi Supermarket" present themselves so that one thinks the host is in Bangladesh. However, they only take U.S. Dollars, and can only ship to the United States (9). They do sell over the internet, but not from Bangladesh! Page Index | Site Index

Hotels

Hotels that allow for internet booking are worldwide chains, thus the whole transaction occurs outside of Bangladesh, despite the fact that the service will be performed in Bangladesh. At Pacific Hotel, subsidy of Pan Pacific, an person can make reservations through a secure server that is protected by an independently certified Secure Certificate. So that a browser can verify such certificates, the browser contains details within its preferences of the various Certifying Authorities. These details are known as Root Certificates and for security they all have expire dates. The hotel's Certifying Authority is Thawte Certification, whose Root Certificate in Netscape 3 expired on 27 July 1998. In order for Netscape 3 to connect to the hotel's secure server (and the estimated 20% of all secure servers using Thawte certificates), a user needs to go through a "rollover" process outlined at http://www.thawte.com/certs/server/rollover.html. When the procedure is complete, the user can then return to the Pan Pacific reservation page.