e-Commerce in Bangladesh

Background

Late 90s: E-Commerce started in Bangladesh in the late 90s. The earlier E-Commerce sites were actually gift sites targeted towards the Non-Residential-Bangladeshis (NRB) living in abroad. All the sites were based in abroad and had branches in Bangladesh.

Year 2000-2008: During this period of time, the E-Commerce sector observed slow growth. There were few E-Commerce websites but there were no system for online transaction which was the first condition for E-Commerce. In addition, high cost of Internet and low penetration meant that few people knew about these sites. According to Bangladesh Bank, payments and transactions by credit cards were nearly Tk11 billion in June 2008; one of the lowest in the world. The country had only about 400,000 credit card holders at the end of June 2009. From 2008, things started to look bright as Bangladesh Bank took various initiatives including implementation of e-Payment Gateway.

Year 2009: The real change came in 2009 when Bangladesh Bank allowed online payment in the country thus, officially opening up the E-Commerce sector. Another major incident of 2009 was introduction of WiMax internet in Bangladesh. It became quite popular in the country.

Year 2013: The year 2013 had been an important year in the history of E-Commerce in Bangladesh.

First, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Bangladesh Bank jointly observed “E-Commerce Week” for the first time in the country, supported by ICT Business Promotion Council. From January 5 to January 11, there were four roundtable discussions, two seminars, one technical session, special awareness program at Dhaka University and a special promotional campaign at Bashundhara Shopping Mall.

In February 2013, for the first time in the country, Computer Jagat, the leading ICT magazine of Bangladesh, under the supervision of Dhaka DC Office, organized the first fair on E-Commerce. The three-day fair took place from February 7 to February 9 at the premise of Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library. The slogan of the fair was- “Festival for buying and selling at your premise.” A total of 31 public and private E-Commerce organizations showcased their products and services at the fair. Though first of its kind, the fair was a huge success attracting eighty thousand visitors. Computer Jagat also did live webcast of the fair which was seen by more than fifty thousand people in Bangladesh and abroad. Following the first ever e-Commerce Fair at Dhaka, Computer Jagat arranged e-Commerce Fair at Sylhet, Chittagong, London and Barisal with their partners and participants.

Additionally, Bangladesh Bank gave permission to buy products and services online using international credit cards this year. Buying products and services from abroad using credit card is an important aspect of E-Commerce.

Type of E-Commerce in Bangladesh:

Currently, three types of E-Commerce are popular in Bangladesh. They are-

  • Business-to-Business (B-2-B)
  • Business-to-Consumer (B-2-C)
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C-2-C)

Main obstacles:

Compared to other countries, Bangladesh is a late entrant in E-Commerce. Yet, this sector observed tremendous growth within a short time. E-Commerce can be the next major driver of Economic development but there are some issues that need to be addressed. Otherwise, this sector would never reach its full potential.

  1. Developing delivery channel to the customers
  2. Affordable and un-interrupted internet all over the country
  3. Improving the online transaction system
  4. Online fraudulence
  5. Piracy