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Saturday Aug 13, 2022

Tech businesses in Nepal still recovering from pandemic

As the whole nation is recovering from the pandemic, booming tech businesses are finding their way back as well.

2022 Mar 25, 16:54, Kathmandu
Technology was people's only window to the outside world during the pandemic.

When people talk about the COVID pandemic, they associate it with masks, sanitizers and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. All of these were important aspects in their own rights. Yet, one of the biggest shifts we saw was the affinity to technology. Prior to the pandemic, technology was looked upon as a luxury that made children physically inactive. However, virtually everyone was fixated on one device or another after COVID protocols prohibited schools and offices to operate physically.

Smartphones and other devices were at a high demand during the pandemic.
Smartphones and other devices were at a high demand during the pandemic.

“Looking at the Kathmandu Valley alone, let’s say, on average, there are four members in each family - two parents and two children,” says Devvrat Rai. “In this day and age, we see families with both working parents, and obviously all children go to school. On top of that, office and school hours are the same. So, for such a household, there was a need for four devices to be available.”

Rai is the manager of IT Bajar, an electronics store in Kalanki which sells mobile phones and computer parts and also does repairs if required. Rai has been in the business for about 8 years, his start coinciding with the popularity of smart technology.

“When I just started, there was sort of a revamp in the technological advancements of Nepal. The society was making the shift to modern technology, especially smartphones and tablets.”

Students shifted to an online medium for their schooling.
Students shifted to an online medium for their schooling.

The devices were costly at first, with many people buying their first touchscreens. On top of that, chargers, headsets, phone cover, and other miscellaneous items had additional costs. So, one can imagine how big of a change it was for the average Nepalese to move from their push-buttons to a far more advanced form of technology.

“By 2016, virtually everyone had a smartdevice,” Rai says. “Even if not individually, almost all families had one device or another.”

However, when the pandemic started in early 2020, having just one device in the family was not enough. As Rai mentioned earlier, it was a time where all individuals needed their own devices. This led to a large demand almost instantly.

Businesses of laptops and gaming devices are expected to prosper.
Businesses of laptops and gaming devices are expected to prosper.

“Like I said, after the pandemic, people started buying gadgets for the needs of the individuals, not the family. Naturally, the demand increased. The supply, however, decreased since the transport of such items halted. And so, to remain in business, we had to increase the prices.”

However, with restrictions on transportation eased now, the electronics sector hopes to recover strongly.

“We are hopeful that the business will prosper now,” says Rai. “The supply of gadgets and supplemental parts is steady, albeit at slightly higher prices. We also had our busiest days and weeks when we had the new launch of Samsung phones. We can hope for such days to return again.”


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