Potential Sectors to invest

Wpfreeware 6:49 AM Potential Sectors

Bangladesh's graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status is a significant milestone that underscores its robust economic growth and development. This transition reflects the country's increasing economic resilience and opens up numerous opportunities for investors. Here are some elaborations on why Bangladesh is a compelling destination for investment, and specific sectors with high potential:

Key Advantages of Investing in Bangladesh

  1. Strategic Location:
    • Positioned between South and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh offers easy access to major markets including India, China, and ASEAN countries. Its proximity to key maritime routes further enhances its appeal as a trade hub.
  2. Competitive Labor Costs:
    • Bangladesh boasts one of the lowest labor costs in Asia, making it an attractive destination for labor-intensive industries. This advantage is particularly significant for sectors like textiles, garments, and manufacturing.
  3. Favorable Government Policies:
    • The government of Bangladesh has implemented various investor-friendly policies, including tax incentives, duty-free imports of raw materials for certain industries, and the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs).
  4. Improving Infrastructure:
    • Continuous investments in infrastructure, such as the development of ports, highways, and energy projects, are facilitating smoother business operations and logistics.

Promising Sectors for Investment:

The economy of Bangladesh is primarily dependent on agriculture. About 84% of the total population lives in rural areas and are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities. Agriculture contributes about 20.29% (Source: Bangladesh Economic Review - 2011 Bangla Version) to the country’s GDP- 23%. About 43.6% (Source: Bangladesh Economic Review - 2011 Bangla Version) of the labor force is employed in agriculture with about 57% being employed in the crop sector.

The abundance of natural resources available in Bangladesh supports a range of highly profitable investment opportunities in agribusiness. Over 90 varieties of vegetable are grown in Bangladesh, yet in this fertile land there is under utilisation of the country’s agricultural capacity. This presents many opportunities for investors seeking to export agricultural products, or to meet the rapidly growing local demand.

Sector Highlights

Thriving in this sector are canned juices, fruits, vegetables, dairy and poultry. The country offers:

  • Huge supply of raw materials exist for the agribusiness industry.
  • A tropical climate for all year growing, a lot of fresh water, indeed a land interspersed with numerous rivers, available land with fertile soil.
  • Government and NGOs conduct regular training programs to develop skilled manpower in the industry.
  • Wide range of biodiversity exists for different crops.
  • Agricultural commodities have a comparatively higher value added than non-agricultural commodities.

Investment Opportunities

There is a wide variety of investment opportunities including:

  • Cold storage facilities serving the supply chain, especially fresh produce for export.
  • Fresh produce production for local and export markets.
  • Production of fertilizers and cultivation of seeds.
  • Eco-friendly jute production, supported by jute technology development institutes.
  • Shrimp farming.
  • Halal foods.
  • Milk and dairy products.
  • High value-added foods for export, including herbs, spices, nuts and pulses.

Industry Outlook

Bangladesh has the essential attributes for successful agri-based industries namely rich alluvial soil, a year-round frost-free environment, available water and an abundance of cheap labor. Increased cultivation of vegetables, spices and tropical fruits now grown in Bangladesh could supply raw materials to local agribusiness industries for both domestic and export markets.

Progressive agricultural practices, improved marketing techniques and modern processing facilities have raised the quality of agribusiness and expanded production levels significantly.

Industry Incentives

The government encourages development of the agricultural sector through measures to increase crop sector productivity and production of non-crop agriculture. To achieve this it provides increased credit, and facilitates greater access to inputs and modern technology. Investments in agribusiness industries in Bangladesh are encouraged with the following support measures:

  • The Equity Entrepreneurship Fund for development of agribusiness industry.
  • Special loan facilities available to set up an agribusiness.
  • Agribusiness industry enjoys tax holidays.
  • Any investment in this sector will enjoy similar tax amnesty as available in other sectors.
  • Imposition of supplementary duty on mango, orange, grape, apples, dates and others to utilize the high quality and cheaper local resources.
  • Cash incentives to the exporters ranges from 15% to 20% in various sub sectors.

Ceramics Industry

The global ceramics industry is worth in excess of $10bn. Bangladesh is perfectly positioned to expand rapidly in this sector with its high quality:cost ratios and creative human resource base.

Sector Highlights

Thriving in this sector are tableware, sanitary ware and insulators. The country key advantages are these:

  • Technical expertise and skilled manpower in tableware and other ceramics.
  • Clean gas reserves in certain locations to fire kilns for competitive cost advantage.
  • Bangladesh ceramic tableware has a good reputation in the international markets like North America and EU countries.
  • Sanitaryware and insulators have a strong domestic demand as well as international market demand.

Industry Outlook

The global ceramic tableware industry is currently going through a phase of acquisition and consolidation as smaller firms in the developed countries are becoming uncompetitive and bankrupt. As a result, the big names like Noritake, Wedgewood, Lenox, Villeroy & Boch and Royal Doulton are all individually becoming billion-dollar operations.

Traditionally, the tableware industry is labor-intensive and companies in developed countries experience difficulties in remaining competitive. Bangladesh, being a gas-rich and low-labor-cost economy, is perfectly positioned to be a strategic partner in production and supply of ceramic products. Investment interests in this sector are strongly welcome.

Industry Status

A few ceramic tableware manufacturers dominate the industry producing high quality products for the international brands. A pool of skilled manpower has been developed. The latest technological advancements in ceramics are also being utilised. Bangladesh produces high quality bone china, transferring the technology from Japan.

Growth of Ceramic Tableware Export from Bangladesh

Year Amount in US$
2012-13 (July-March) 27,779,246.64
2011-12 33,748,128.72
2010-11 37,579,260.27
2009-10 30,775,334.51
2008-09 31,167,227.14
Source: Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau

Electronics Industry

The high skill, low cost labor resource of the electronics sector in Bangladesh offers companies great returns on investment. Whilst the global market for semiconductors is worth in excess of $200bn and is dominated by the Asian economies, Bangladesh has significant financial and economic factors in its favor that make it the best choice for many companies.

Sector Highlights

  • Manufacturing of semiconductors could be established as a stand alone industry.
  • Bangladesh is going to be one of the largest cell-phone markets in South Asia.
  • The home appliance market in Bangladesh is growing rapidly.
  • The labor-intensive nature of the electronic industry matches the ability of Bangladesh to provide a high skilled labor source.

Industry Background

The electronics industry in Bangladesh mostly produces consumer items. Home appliances includes televisions, radios, DVDs and CD players, refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, electronic fans, blenders etc. are being assembled to a large extent. To ensure the performance reliability, the key challenges in this sector are technical assistance and proper technology orientation of the industry. Developing the significant capacity and skill in assembly and manufacture of a wide range of electronic components and parts is crucial.

As yet, Bangladesh does not have any telecommunication equipment industry in the private sector. However, an urgent need for diversification and modernization is felt among the existing entrepreneurs, government and professionals. The government is keen to provide and ensure enabling assistance to the development of this sector.

Industry Outlook

Bangladesh's experience in basic electronics spans over two decades. In recent years, European and Asian electronic firms have established technical collaboration with their Bangladeshi counterparts to produce some electronic goods at competitive prices. This has tremendous potentiality for expansion.

The government of Bangladesh has adopted National Telecommunication Policy, 1998. Investment is encouraged through BLT-BOT/BOO/BTO* and other joint venture schemes which by greatly increasing the capacity, quality and type of services, will create improved efficiencies in other sectors such as transportation energy and the textile industry.

To meet the telecommunications' requirements of the country the government has been developing and expanding the systems and services of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board. Private sector operations in the rural telecommunication, paging, cellular telephones and riverine radio trunking have already been allowed. At present seven private operators are providing their services to about 100,000 customers. Government has allowed expanding 300,000 digital telephone lines in Dhaka by private sector participation through open tendering.

In accordance with overall national policy, liberalization of the telecommunications sector will continue. However, the government retains the sale authority to determine the number of competitions that are economically viable for certain services. The strategy is to provide equal and rational opportunities to all competitors.

Skilled, easily trainable and low-cost human resources are the main cost advantage of setting up electronic industry in Bangladesh. Growing domestic demand and international market access are some key attractive issues to the investors. In the economies like Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and Thailand, electronics contribute a major portion in the GDP. They are encouraging electronic industry to shift from low-end assembly operations with high import content of inputs to upstream higher value-added activities. In this context, relocation, outward investment and joint venture with Bangladeshi companies could be gainful strategies. To capitalize on the comparative advantages, substantial foreign investment from those countries is highly encouraged.

BLT-BOT/BOO/BTO=BOO refers to Build, Operate & Own. BLT refers to Build, Lease and Transfer while BOT refers to Build, Operate and Transfer.

Frozen Foods

Frozen foods is the second largest export sector of the economy. The massive natural resources available in Bangladesh make this sector particularly promising for investors looking to supply in international as well as in domestic markets.

The Public sector corporation and the private organizations have setup about 148 numbers of shore based export oriented fish processing plants at Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Jessore, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Cox's Bazar, Chandpur, Kishoregonj, Syihet and Patuakhali. These plants produces Fresh Water shell On (FWSO), Ser Water shell On (SWSO), Peeled and Deveined (P&D), Peeled and Undevined (PUD), shrimp products under the most hygienic and sanitary condition under the supervision, control and guidance of foreign trained handling & processing experts. At all levels, USFDA registrations and directives of the European Communities concerning the production and exportation of frozen foods are strictly followed.

Sector Highlights

Thriving in this sector are shrimp farming and fish production.

  • The government is promoting semi-intensive shrimp farming.
  • Shrimp processing and export industry is largely dominated by the small business sector.
  • Government has developed initiatives of quality assurance for frozen foods in co-operation with exporters.
  • 15% cash incentive offered to shrimp export amount.

Exportable Products

The private organization and the public sector corporation offer the following products for export:

  • Frozen shrimp & prawn
  • Frozen fish
  • Fresh & chilled fish
  • Frozen fillets & steaks of fish, sharks shells skates & rays
  • Shark fins & fish maws
  • Salted & dehydrated fish
  • Dry fish
  • Live crabs & tortoises
  • Fish meals & crushed
  • Value added shrimp & fish products

Industry Outlook

This export oriented industry includes the following sub-sectors which are themselves promising investment opportunities:

  • Hatcheries
  • Sustainable aquaculture technology
  • Feed meals plants
  • Processing unit for value-added products.

Key Information

No. of fish processing plants 148
Plants licensed by the GOB 88
Fish processing plants approved by the EU 74
Quantity of frozen food exported in 2009-10 129.81 m products
Shrimp exported in 2009-10 108.84 m lbs
Fish exported in 2009-10 20.97 m lbs
Processing capacity in the total plants 3,00,000 m tons
Export earnings from shrimp 2009-10 348.28 m US$
Export earnings from fish 2009-10 89.12 m US$
No. of shrimp hatchery 130
Production of shrimp fry 12,000-15,000 m
Shrimp cultured land 170,000 hectare
Unutilized land for shrimp culture 100,000 hectare

Source: Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA)

Growth in Export of Processed Fish

Shrimp is the second largest source of export from Bangladesh which earned as much as 437.40 million US dollar in the year 2009-10. Commercial culture of shrimp increased rapidly in the coastal belt of Bangladesh and it went through several stages of transformation. During the last ten years, Bangladesh has earned international credibility by responding to the food-safety and quality requirements of its destinations, mostly, the United States and the European Union countries. Continuous investment has enabled the sector to progress in the teeth of competition from other countries.

Year Product item Quantity (m lbs) US$ (m)
2006-07 Shrimp and fish 112.15 515.22
2007-08 Shrimp and fish 111.35 534.07
2008-09 Shrimp and fish 117.31 454.53
2009-10 Shrimp and fish 129.81 437.40

Source: Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA)

There are 105,000 galda farms, mostly located in the Khulna area although this method of cultivation is spred ading rapidly in other parts of Bangladesh. Unlike brackish water cultivation of bagda (black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon), freshwater galda cultivation is not restricted to the coastal regions and is expanding at a rate of 10–20 per cent per annum.

Industry Situation

Following a period of strong investment in technology, processes and regulation the frozen foods sector has flourished and earned itself an excellent reputation with trading partners.

Exporters have earned credibility and trustworthiness in the global market and are committed to maintaining a competitive advantage in product quality. Continuing investment in technology, marketing and quality remain at the forefront of the industries' strategy to meet the challenges of international trade in price, quality, time and service.

Pharmaceutical Sector of Bangladesh

Pharmaceutical is one of the highest priority sectors in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is growing from BDT 138.81 bn (USD 1.78 bn) in 2013 to BDT 154.74 bn (USD 1.99 bn) in 2014; +11.5%in local currency terms and +12.1% in US dollar terms. With an annual two-digit growth rate the Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is now heading towards self – sufficiency in meeting local demand. There are more than 300 small, medium, large and multinational companies operating in the country producing around 97% of the total demand. The sector is the second highest contributor to the national ex-chequer after tobacco and it is the largest white-collar intensive employment sector in Bangladesh.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most technologically advanced sectors currently in existence in Bangladesh. It has grown in the last two decades at a considerable rate. The skills and knowledge of the professionals and innovative ideas of the people involved in this industry are the key factors for these developments. About 300 pharmaceutical companies are operating at the moment. Only 3% of the drugs are imported, the remaining 97% come from local companies. Positive developments in the pharmaceutical sector have enabled Bangladesh to export medicine to global markets. At present, Bangladesh's pharmaceutical industry is effectively exporting their products to 79 countries across the world, and this number is expected to increase in coming years.

The pharma industry of Bangladesh is now on the verge of entering highly regulated overseas markets like USA and Europe. In this connection, several pharma manufacturers have already made huge investments in their new state of art manufacturing facilities. A number of companies have already obtained or in the process of obtaining UKMHRA, EU, TGA, AUSTRALIA and GCC certifications.

The future of pharmaceutical exports from Bangladesh is bright. After the inclusion of the Doha declaration in WTO / TRIPS Agreement, each and every country belonging to the LDC Category has the option not to opt for pharma product patent until year 2,016; which means, they can now legally reverse-engineer patented products and sell in their markets and can export to other LDCs, too. This generates a huge export opportunities for Bangladesh, as among all 50 LDCs, Bangladesh is the only country which had a strong pharma manufacturing base. Besides direct export operations, there is also a huge opportunity for the Bangladeshi companies to go for the Contract Manufacturing and compulsory licensing. The good news is, the leading pharma exporters of Bangladesh have already started availing these opportunities.


The high skill, low cost labor resource of the electronics sector in Bangladesh offers companies great returns on investment. Whilst the global market for semiconductors is worth in excess of $200bn and is dominated by the Asian economies, Bangladesh has significant financial and economic factors in its favor that make it the best choice for many companies.

Garments & Textiles:

From spinning to weaving, from knitwear to leisurewear and high street fashions, the textiles and clothing industry is Bangladesh’s biggest export earner with value of over $ 16 bn of exports in 2009-10. Our factories design and produce for the world’s leading brands and retailers. This rapidly growing sector of the Bangladeshi economy offers a unique competitive edge that supports profitable expansion into new strategic markets.

ICT Business Services:

ICT and its related business services in Bangladesh are a vibrant sector supported by an enthusiastic culture and a government committed to providing a pro-business climate for all investors. Over 400 IT companies are now thriving in the country supplying to local and international markets worldwide.

Leather and Leather Goods:

Bangladesh has a long established tanning industry which produces around 2-3% of the world’s leather from a ready supply of raw materials. The country is therefore an established and attractive location to source and outsource the manufacture of finished leather products. The leather industry is ideally suited to Bangladesh with its abundance of labor and natural resources at internationally competitive rates.

Light Engineering:

The burgeoning domestic market and the prospect of significant cost reductions for companies sourcing components and finished goods for international markets makes Bangladesh a compelling choice for investors.

Power Industry:

Bangladesh is progressing through a phase of development where automation is the key to its economy and business. As the country continues to industrialize the importance of power generation and electricity supply becomes a key government priority.

Life Science:

The pharmaceutical sector in Bangladesh has developed fast. Originally set up to cater for local needs as a manufacturer of patent medicines, the industry now exports drugs to highly regulated markets. Expansive international companies have established operations in the country as they seek to grow, promote exports, drive down manufacturing costs, and undertake research and development into reverse engineering of patented medicines.

List of the 32 Hightest Priority and Special Development Sectors cited in Export Policy 2018-21

Highest priority sectors

  1. High Value Added Readymade Garments, Denim, Man Made Fibre and Garment Accessories
  2. Software & IT Enable Services, ICT Products
  3. Pharmaceutical products
  4. Plastic products
  5. Footwear (leather, non-leather and synthetic) and Leather products
  6. Jute products
  7. Agro-Products & Agro-Processed products
  8. Ship & Ocean going fishing trawler
  9. Furniture
  10. Home Textile, Home Decor & Terry Towel
  11. Home Furnishing
  12. Luggage
  13. Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and Laboratory Reagents.

Special Development sectors

  1. Diversified Jute Products
  2. Electric & Electronic products
  3. Ceramic products
  4. Light engineering products (including Auto –parts, Bicycle, Motor cycle, Battery)
  5. Value added frozen fish
  6. Papor (Food)
  7. Printing and packaging
  8. Rough Diamond & Jewelry
  9. Paper & paper products
  10. Rubber & Rubber related Products
  11. Silk products
  12. Handicrafts
  13. Handloom products including Lungi
  14. Coconut Shell
  15. Photo Voltaic Module (Solar energy)
  16. Cashew nut (Raw and Roasted);
  17. Live and Processed Crab
  18. Toys
  19. Agar

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