Thimphu TechPark will soon build its own IT team where they will cater to the needs of the people, in terms of services related to IT. This is in a long list of developments in the IT Tech Park gearing Bhutan for the fourth industrial revolution.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Thimphu TechPark, Tshering C. Dorji (PhD) said the focus is on starting a centre of excellence in Information Technology with a team of competent IT professionals in software development, ERP solutions, email and collaboration tools, data centre services, cloud computing, cyber security, etc., as well as emerging technologies, such as AI, data science, block-chain and IoT.
“The work has already started with the help and guidance from DHI, our shareholder. Initially, we will partner with companies outside and bring in experts, but the long term vision is to build our own capacity and help the existing private IT companies grow,’’ said the CEO.
Thimphu TechPark Ltd. has been focusing mainly on two important mandates; supporting entrepreneurship and innovation through Bhutan’s first business incubation centre located at the TechPark known as Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre (BITC), which is a government owned company. However, since there is a contract agreement with the government to operate this centre; Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre at the IT park is the first business incubation centre in Bhutan.
It became operational from 7 May 2012.
Also another mandate is to attract foreign investors to create jobs for the youth by starting new companies or subsidiaries at the IT Park. The TechPark has also been able to provide direct employment opportunities to around 500-700 youth so far through the companies located at the TechPark.
There are around 10 innovative startups in different sectors supported or borne out of collaborative efforts of people working at the TechPark, such as Thunder Motors in electric vehicle sector, Bhutan Professional Services in the construction sector, Housing.bt in real estate sector, MyDrukRide in transportation sector, INOHOME for smart homes, SungJab (electric scarecrow) to help farmers protect their crops from wildlife, NANO in internet and IT services, Mountain Mist for soap and sanitary products, Eco-waste solution in waste management and Dr Toilet for toilet maintenance and management services. These are just few of the many. There are also a few in the food and agriculture sector that the Tech Park has supported.
However there are a few challenges that still remain, one being reliability of Internet connectivity. According to Tshering C. Dorji (PhD), ‘’Since we have our international backbones going towards Siliguri over physical fiber through the Indian territories, it get disrupted sometimes, but we hope that the bilateral relations would be strengthened in the technology and space sector. We hope India would support our endeavor to get faster, more reliable and affordable Internet backbone bandwidth for Bhutan since all our international backbone links pass through India.”
The another challenge being difficulties in attracting foreign companies to Bhutan since they take longer time to make the decision to move part of their operation to Bhutan and inability to do proper targeted marketing. Nevertheless, three new international IT/ITES companies – two US companies and one Japanese company have just recently started their operation in the Tech Park, and have altogether employed around 150 people.
Tech Park will also be responsible for consolidating and optimizing the DHI groups with IT services that are in line with DHI roadmap 2030. The company will play a very important role in ushering the DHI groups and country as a whole into the new era of fourth industrial revolution.
IT Park is supported by the World Bank and developed jointly by Assetz Property Group of Singapore, and DHI, the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan.