Hatil Complex Ltd, a local furniture maker, has recently made its maiden export to Australia, encouraged by the growing size of the Bangladeshi community.
Hatil, however, does not have any direct concern there; three non-resident Bangladeshis opened a two-storey showroom on July 20 at Kogarah, a suburb in Sydney.
“The Bangladeshi community in Australia is now quite big, so there is immense potential for furniture exports,” said Selim H Rahman, chairman and managing director of Hatil.
The company has already shipped one container of furniture worth $25,000.
“The Australian furniture industry is controlled by Italian-designed Chinese-manufactured products, so Bangladeshi furniture, with their superior quality and affordable pricing, have a great appeal,” Md Shahenul Islam, managing director of Hatil Furnitures Pty Ltd Australia, said by email.
So far, the outlet has received good response for the unique designs and affordable prices of its wares, he said.
“So, we now plan to open outlets in Melbourne, Adelaide and other major Australian cities—we are even looking at New Zealand.”
Rahman, who is also the chairman of Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners Association, said this bodes well for the country’s furniture
“Since the young Bangladeshi diaspora is showing interest in promoting our products in foreign countries, we hope furniture exports will soon rise,” he said.
Established in 1989, Hatil Complex Ltd now has an annual turnover of Tk 75 crore, with its factory in Gazipur capable of producing around Tk 200 crore worth of furniture on an annual basis.
At present, 17 companies that include Otobi, Akhtar, Hatil, Brothers, Partex, Navana, Legacy and Furnitec are involved in furniture exports.
They raked in around Tk 245 crore from exports last fiscal year, up 15.73 percent from fiscal 2011-12, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Furniture is one of the country’s rapidly growing sectors, with turnover growing around 19 percent year-on-year. The industry currently employs about 30 lakh people directly.