Local brands shining over foreign goods26 August 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan
Local brands and products having international standards and quality are now getting huge response from the consumers causing a backlash for expensive foreign goods, analysts and entrepreneurs said on Monday.
They said, two decades ago, local consumers starved for foreign brands, from soap to cloths, causing a setback for locally manufactured products. But, the situation has changed rapidly as the consumers now favoured local products over foreign goods due to their competitive price and quality.
"Twenty years ago, anything with a foreign name was automatically thought to be better," said Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Additional Research Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). "But (now) consumers are showing a preference for lower priced local brands which help outpacing foreign goods."
He said, increasing consumer demand has led to gradual expansion of local industries, which are now producing world standard products capitalizing various incentives from the government. It (government) also takes various measures to protect local industries.
"The entrepreneurs of these industries have already made huge investment in their manufacturing units and installed state-of-art technology there to cater the demands of both local and foreign customers," he added.
Giving example of industries like cement, electronic, pharmaceutical, plastic products and consumer goods, he said, there industries have expanded over the years and now they are also started exporting their products to many countries.
"Foreign brands are losing their stem in Bangladesh and sales of local brands are soaring. The reasons is an enormous price advantage over international brands and improved quality," he noted.
Golam Moazzem further said, consumers now believe local products are equal and in some cases superior to international brands. A growing patriotism of local consumer also helped flourish local industries.
As the local industries are showing their potential both local and international market, the government should formulate a proper industrial policy enacting protecting and supportive provisions in it so that they can grow further and contribute the economy by creating more jobs.
Mentioning the success story of local garments industry, he said, Bangladesh is now becomes the second largest apparel exporting countries in the world after China and the industry
gained the strength to compete its other competitor capitalizing low manufacturing cost.
SM Ashraful Alam, Managing Director of Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited (WHIL), said, "Earlier we focused on producing refrigerator and television, but now we are concentrating on product diversification considering taste of local and foreign customers."
He claimed, local electronic goods are now competitive that any other foreign brands and their quality to some extent better than products produced in China.
"When we started our business, we used to import basic materials such as chemicals for refrigerators spending huge foreign exchange, but now those products are now being produced in the country," said the Walton MD.
He said if we look back to 50 years ago when only seven to eight Japanese companies used to dominate in global electronics market. "But now many small conglomerates are shining over the giant companies offering cheap and quality products," he added.
"Bangladesh is now on the way to cope with the world technologies provided by state-support and dedicated workforce," said Ashraf, whose company is now exporting electronic products to 17 countries.
Shahedul Islam (Helal), a former President of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA), said almost all goods need for daily life is now produced in Bangladesh.
"That is why people of the country should think twice while purchasing foreign products said Helal, also managing director Bengal Pacific Ltd and a former President of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI).
When contacted, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, said the government is always ready to provide all-out support and enabling environment to help flourish local industries.
"The National Industry Policy-2015 to be announced by February of next year will be supportive to the local industries. The policy will largely accentuate on protect local industries and their sustainable development," he added.