Youngone chief targets $1b exports from Bangladesh
Kihak Sung, chairman of Youngone Corporation, plans to export $1 billion of products from Bangladesh in future.
“My business growth here is 10 percent year-on-year, but it should be 20 percent. So, my targets are realistic,” Sung told The Daily Star in an interview.
At present, his 17 production units in Bangladesh export $600 million worth of products a year. Of the amount, $500 million alone comes from garment items, and the rest from footwear.
“But I do not want to compete with the local garment exporters. They are doing fantastically themselves, and some even have the potential to hit the $1 billion-mark.”
Sung, however, is positive about the future of the country's garment industry despite the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza collapse.
“First of all, we can overcome the setbacks. We should not be pessimistic. We just need to work harder, and come up with a positive brand new image.”
Youngone has so far invested $400 million in Bangladesh and plans to invest $200-$300 million a year if the KEPZ takes off in full-swing.
Sung, who started operations here in 1980, has no plans to shift his production elsewhere.
“My factories were waist deep under water from the floods [in 1991]. I was distraught and was contemplating relocating production to another country,” he recalls.
“What happened next, I can never forget. My workers took charge and became my source of strength. They removed the mud from the machineries. They scrubbed the floor clean. They did above and beyond their call of duty.”
Because of the earnestness showed by the Bangladeshi people during his hour of need, he says, he will never leave Bangladesh. “I cannot forget them -- I cannot forget Bangladesh.”
Youngone Corporation is currently worth $1.6 billion, and has operations in Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and El Salvador.