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Exporters of Tailor Made Garments and Stocklots

Readymade Industry in Bangladesh from the Early Days

Posted by admin Published April 5, 2011

Readymade Industry in Bangladesh from the Early Days

Bangladesh readymade garments has gone a long way since its early days. Started with a handful of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs and Asian investors, frustrated with quotas imposed on products from their own countries by importing nations, it grew to become the largest exporting sector of Bangladesh.

In the early days, there was virtually no government regulations and the net benefit to the economy was quite insignificant because most of the raw materials were imported and as the value added was virtually from the labour, alone. All that was required was simply cutting and sewing. Still, the labour costs were so low that it offset the cost of importing the raw materials and indeed businesses flourished overnight.

The manufactured garments met the quality standards of North America and Many garment owners at that time saw the a return of their investment within the first year or two and continued to reap profits after that. The number of manufacturers proliferated and, virtually overnight, Bangladeshi became the sixth largest exporter in the world. It employed more than 200,000 people, 80% of whom were women who were very poorly paid and who had previously never worked before.

Today the garment sector is the highest export earner of the country and government and international  regulations have thankfully improved conditions of employees. A greater variety of garments are now being produced and the importance of Bangladesh as a source for garments has increased considerably, not only in the USA, but Europe as well. Also the cutting and sewing industry gave rise to supporting industries which made a variety of fabrics and more recently, yarn as well.

Bangladesh set to become world’s largest sweater exporter within 5 years

Bangladesh is set to become the world’s largest sweater exporter within the next five years as global sourcing shifts towards a cheaper destination. Already manufacturers are stepping up production capacities amid a rapid rise in orders from top world buyers whilst exports from major competitors such as China and Indonesia are reducing. At this rate, production is likely to become closer to China within the next two years, as new and expanded facilities begin operations.

Until last year, Bangladesh’s share of the European 13 billion Euro sweater market was only 9% compared to China’s 30% share, but a shift towards sourcing to Bangladesh, largely at the loss of China, will increase the market share considerably.

Not only does Bangladesh enjoy a cost advantage due to rising wages in China, but China I also moving towards a higher end of the market to compensate for an upward adjustment in its currency. Wage hikes in Indonesia and rising inflation has also resulted in gains for Bangladeshi sweater manufacturers, but new EU rules of regulations of origin and duty Free access offers a huge competitive advantage, too.

Presently Bangladeshi sweater exports account for almost 15% of all apparel exports and top buyers include Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, Marks and Spencer, GAP, Tesco, H and M, JC Penney etc. The industry was badly hit during the recession of 2008-9 with closures of dozens of smaller factories, but with rising efficiency, it is set to take top position worldwide.

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