Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Business Opportunities Corner: "Air of Bhutan"

US$9 for air
Can you make money out of air? You certainly CAN. In a recent visit to Turkey, I've noticed these attractively-designed tin cans. The contents? "Air of Istanbul". Nothing more, nothing less. Tourists buy these cans as souvenirs, and they pay the incredible amount of 16 Turkish Liras, which currently convert to about US$9. If you ask me, "Air of Bhutan" sounds (and smells) much better than "Air of Istanbul". Naturally, you won't face any competition from India, China, etc. "Air of Bhutan" can only be manufactured in Bhutan!

So here's the general idea:
  • Design a beautiful label with "Air of Bhutan", "Air of the Himalayas", etc. Unfortunately, "Druk Air" is already taken. There might be niche markets for specific locations, such as "Air of Bumthang".  
  • Buy the necessary tin canning equipment and materials. Choose and test the material/process: You don't want the cans to crumble/explode when shifting to low/high altitudes.
  • Start manufacturing. Make sure that the manufacturing location matches the label and is not done, say, in Jaigaon. Truth in advertising is important. Rinchending is still a possibility, but as a tourist I'd rather see "Packed in the pristine Himalayas", not "Packed in an industrial zone at the foothills of the Himalayas". The good part: Tin contents (air) is still 100% free!
  • Set a reasonable price, and distribute to tourist outlets in Bhutan
Once "Air of Bhutan" is a huge hit, you can move on to "Water of Bhutan"...

Disclaimer: Our ideas are just ideas, not necessarily sound business advice. If this business already exists in Bhutan and we missed it, please let us know! Before rushing to implement the idea, do some research about costs. Create a spreadsheet with the costs and see how much you will need to earn to break even and to make a profit. See if you can survive for a year with no profit and perhaps loss, until the business is more established. The best approach is to consult with organizations that help local entrepreneurs such as the Loden Foundation.