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Chinese apparel makers eye Bangladesh for obvious benefits
Sep '12
Mr Shubhashish Bose
Mr Shubhashish Bose
Chinese garment makers have turned their eyes on Bangladesh, a country considered to have a very low-cost of production, on back of rising labour and other production costs in China, which is making Chinese-made apparels uncompetitive in domestic as well as overseas markets.  

A high-powered Chinese delegation, headed by China National Garment Association (CNGA) Vice-President – Mr Feng Dehu, recently on a 3-day visit to Bangladesh, visited around eight garment production units and also met officials of an apparel trade body and also the Minister of Commerce of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is considered a low cost destination for clothing production, which has turned it in to a global hub for sourcing low-cost apparels and clothing accessories. Global apparel brands and retailers have been making a beeline, which in turn has ensured that exports from the sector have skyrocketed in the last few years.

Meanwhile, in order to overcome the challenge of rising production costs back home, in the last few months, a few Chinese clothing exporters and producers have already set up offices in Dhaka, with the intention to import low-cost but high quality apparels from Bangladesh.

“The hike in costs is not only troubling Chinese exporters. It is also impacting brands and retailers, servicing the Chinese domestic market, which too is very huge in size”, says Ms Rosa Dada of Four Seasons Fashion Ltd, a two-decades old Chinese apparel manufacturer and exporter with a buying office in Bangladesh.  

Ms Rosa who spends quite a good amount of her time in Bangladesh was also part of the Chinese delegation, since she has deep knowledge of the Bangladeshi garment industry, as she has been sourcing apparels for more than three years and has set up a buying office early this year.

“In order to beat increase in labour costs as well as shortage of labour, Chinese apparel producers are increasingly investing in high-technology equipment and machinery. This will help them roll out high-value garment products, while they will source low-cost goods from Bangladesh”, Ms Rosa adds.

M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin – President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) reveals, “The rise in per-capita-income and standard of living in China has brought about a hike in demand for clothing in that country”.

He adds, “China also exports US $143 billion worth of apparels every year, which is a big chunk of global clothing exports of US$ 400 billion. Both these factors, present Bangladesh with a great opportunity”.

Considering the high-cost of labour and production, Chinese apparel producers are planning to relocate their operations to Bangladesh. They will export to overseas markets and also ship them to China to be sold in the Chinese market”, Mr Shubhashish Bose – CEO of Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh told fibre2fashion.

Explaining the reasons to fibre2fashion, Rosa informs, “The labour wage in China is around US $400-500 per month, while in Bangladesh it is about $70-100 per month, which makes a huge difference in the cost of production and is also a huge benefit. This benefit will make Chinese clothing competitive in foreign markets.

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