Bangladesh can significantly increase exports to Asian markets including China by utilising the ample low-cost labour available in the country, analysts said.
China, the world's second-largest economy, is now looking to domestic demand as a key driver of growth, discussants said on Friday at a seminar on Bangladesh-China business outlook, organised by HSBC and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh, at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka.
Li Jun, Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh; Andrew Tilke, chief executive officer of HSBC Bangladesh; Li Zhen, head of china outbound of HSBC; Bai Junkun, chairman of Chinese Chamber of Commerce; and Shahidul Islam, research fellow and consultant at the Institute of Governance Studies of Brac University, spoke at the seminar.
Bangladesh's exports to Asia will nearly double to 15 percent of the country's total shipments by 2020 riding on higher demand from China, according to HSBC Global Connection report.
Europe and North America together account for over 85 percent of the country's exports, with Asia accounting for about 8 percent.
The growth of exports to Asian nations is expected to average 10 to 12 percent a year until 2030, with a concentration on lower value-added sectors of apparel products.
In the next two decades, Vietnam and Malaysia would be among the fastest growing export destinations for Bangladesh.
Exports grew to $29.1 billion, the highest in the country's history in 2013, up 16 percent from the previous year's record of $25.1 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
HSBC has had a continuous presence in mainland China for 148 years and has one of the largest networks of any foreign bank.
In Bangladesh, HSBC was the first international bank to initiate renminbi-denominated cross-border trade settlement.
HSBC expanded its network with a new business development office in Uttara Export Processing Zone in Nilphamari, becoming the only international bank to be present in all eight export processing zones of Bangladesh. It also opened a full-fledged branch in Mymensingh.
With assets of $2,671 billion as of December 2013, the HSBC Group is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.
China, the world's largest exporter, surpassed Japan to become the world's second-largest economy in 2010.
The discussion session was followed by performances depicting the vibrant and rich cultural heritage of Bangladesh and China.