$150b export opportunity awaits Bangladesh

11 Jan 2021 11:27 AM
Image: Collected
Bangladesh needs to utilize the growing e-commerce marketplace and increase the operational efficiency of open public and personal sectors to seize the opportunities on the global trade, said an industry executive.

Md Miarul Haque, managing director of DHL Worldwide Express (BD) Pvt Ltd, said producers get just around 20 per cent of maximum retail cost (MRP).

"But if they can reach away directly to consumers through e-commerce, the same $30 billion of exports could grow to $150 billion."

Bangladesh is ranked 176th out of 190 countries in cross-border trade, and is already exporting products worth about $40 billion.

"Imagine how substantially we are able to grow if we improve to a good two-digit ranking. We simply need some heroes like you to dream this once again," he said at the Bangladesh Organization Awards on December 12.

Two of the mega developments that are shaping lives are digitalisation and e-commerce, plus they complement one another, he said.

Digitalisation provides the backbone infrastructure that's driving the global change in looking behaviour, and the enormous expansion and probable of the e-commerce industry is again traveling further digitalisation to handle the scale.

With digitalisation, global trade is currently being disrupted and reshaped. About 1.6 billion online shoppers applying 16 billion online products are changing the world every second. And to understand the scale of the revolution, one has to have a look at the figures around Alibaba's Single's Day time.

Alibaba celebrated the biggest online shopping festival on the planet last year for almost two weeks, and the results was $74.1 billion in product sales against $38.4 billion this past year and the earnings of just fourteen days is even bigger than the annual revenue of several global companies.

"This is one way the revolution of online shopping has resulted in over $4 trillion global e-commerce market today. That is the scale of the market, and it is growing consistently," Haque said.

Since online retail represents only around 14 per cent of the traditional retail market, it means there is much more potential to keep this disruption and grow further, he said.

The size of the domestic e-commerce industry in Bangladesh is around $1.5 billion. On the other hand, the global cross-border e-commerce market is just about a trillion us dollars, Haque said.

"This could mean a substantial way to obtain potential export revenue, diversification for the country's industries, connecting thousands of SMEs and micro-enterprises to buyers all over the world, and manufacturers reaching out to more than 7 billion people instead of just 170 million persons of Bangladesh."

Haque said he dreamt of a regulatory infrastructure where delivery of shipments to recipients would only be considered a matter of time after arrival found in Dhaka, instead of days.

"These delays may bring about billions of dollars of missed opportunities. I dream of that day when we will genuinely see paperless clearance so that we can avoid printing millions of internet pages as hardcopy clearance paperwork."