The “Belt and Road Meets Digital Bangladesh” Conference was held at Shenzhen Stock Exchange, on May 6, 2019 at which more than 25 Bangladeshi Technology Companies had the opportunity to present to almost 100 Chinese investors and companies. Shenzhen is the technology capital of China and more than 2100 companies are listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange is the 8th largest stock market globally with a combined market value of $ 3.3 trillion. This was the first major technology event Bangladesh has held in China and is therefore an important step in deepening mutually beneficial relationships between the tech sectors of both countries as well as exploring the scope for greater collaboration, joint ventures and investment.
Another important event at the conference was the launch of the Bangladesh window on Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s V Next platform. This network for connecting international investment opportunities for more than 16,000 Chinese institutional investors already covers 38 countries. The Bangladesh window, allows Bangladesh tech companies (as well as other sectors) to directly access Chinese investors in an unprecedented way and is an extension of Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchanges’ Strategic partnership and investment of 25% in the Dhaka Stock Exchange that was completed in 2018. The 22 Bangladeshi companies that presented in the V Next Roadshow included: Circle FinTech, Chaldal.com, Shadmart, Hungrynaki,Sheba.xyz,Handymama,Daktarbhai,PBazaar.com, C-Med, Red Green Walton, Ok nobile, Datasoft Manufacturing, Genex/IPE group, Business Automation, Future Global, Spectrum, MyCell, Fiber@home, E-Generation, ICBS Primax, Devotech. The response by Chinese investors and companies was positive and also some element of surprise as to how rapidly Bangladesh’s technology sector is developing.
The Digital Silk Route, as a sub component of China’s Belt Road initiative (BRI), covers a broad range of issues such physical technology infrastructure such as satellites, 5G or fiber optic cable networks; leveraging 4th industrial revolution (4IR) technologies such as AI, Big Data, IOT, robotics among other things; or about technology manufacturing changes. It’s potential as a catalyst for global economic development, especially in developing countries, is underappreciated. The scope for Bangladesh to accelerate it’s own technology strategy of Digital Bangladesh by engaging more effectively in China’s Digital Silk Route is considerable. The May 6 “Belt and Road Meets Digital Bangladesh” Conference, is an important start in this process of finding mutually beneficial tech opportunities between China and Bangladesh.