Many of the 98 foreign companies which took part in the just-concluded three-day ceramics exposition at International Convention City Bashundhara told this correspondent about their business potential.
They said Bangladesh achieved quality to compete in the global market thanks to efforts of local entrepreneurs. The sector has been growing at 200 percent on an average for the last five years.
“I could understand that the ceramics sector of Bangladesh has potential when I first came to the country in 2015 to explore business potential,’’ said Jerome Meakin, sales director of Unimak Machine Industry Company of Turkey.
The ceramics sector of Bangladesh is growing very fast and new factories are being set up.
“Though the market size is still small, the future is very good as the purchasing power of the Bangladeshis is increasing,” Meakin said.
His company has managed four clients in Bangladesh in the last four years and three are in the pipeline.
Giorgio Renolfi, area sales manager at SAMCI, an Italian sanitary and tableware ceramic machine manufacturer, said his company has been supplying machinery to Bangladesh since early 2000 and has over 20 clients.
“The improvement of the sector is really impressive. As a result, machinery manufacturers have bright future to do business in Bangladesh as ceramics manufacturers will require quality machine and equipment.”
Paulo Vigario, sales director at Mota Ceramic Solutions, a Portuguese company, said his company has been exporting china clay and bulk clay and other raw materials to the ceramic sector for more than 15 years.
Around 25 manufacturers import raw materials from Mota Ceramic Solutions and the volume is increasing rapidly.
Vigario said the possibility of exporting finished products to Bangladesh is getting slim as local companies are manufacturing high quality products and exporting tableware.
Sunil Agarwal, managing director of Indian Ceramic House, echoed Vigario and is optimistic about business in near future.
His company has been exporting colour to the ceramic sector for the last few years.
Guangdong Nade New Material Ltd took part in the exposition for the first time but could not manage any client, said Bob Liu, its sales engineer.
But he is optimistic about attracting clients in future as the sector is doing well.
About 20 Chinese machinery manufacturers and design and raw materials exporters took part in the fair.
Currently, there are more than 60 ceramics factories in Bangladesh and over a dozen are in the pipeline, according to the Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA).
The country produces tableware, sanitary ware and tiles. The industry produced more than 25 crore pieces of tableware, nearly 20 crore square metres of tiles, and over 83 lakh pieces of sanitary ware in fiscal 2017-18.
Bangladesh is almost self-sufficient in these products, a development opposite to the scenario in the 1990s.
Local manufacturers cater to 85 percent of the country’s demand, while the rest, most comprising high-end ceramic products, is imported from Japan, China and Taiwan, said Irfan Uddin, general secretary of the BCMEA.