Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
Consumer goods are promoted and sold primarily through distributors based in Dhaka to a price-sensitive market with a growing appetite for higher-priced branded goods. Suppliers of capital goods, agricultural products, and raw materials for readymade garments (RMG) and other export industries frequently sell their products through local agents experienced in working with government and industrial buyers. U.S. firms may also consider promoting their products and services through the annual U.S. Trade Show, usually held in the first quarter of the calendar year in Dhaka, and co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh. For more information, please visit the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh website.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
The Export Promotion Bureau at Export Promotion Bureau-Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (epb.gov.bd)is the local authority arranging trade fairs both in country and outside of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has a small but growing advertising and market research industry. Product and trade advertisements are the most commonly used sales promotion vehicles in Bangladesh and are carried through the full range of advertising media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, billboards, and exhibitions. Television is widely accessible in urban and rural areas, with print media and radio targeting a more limited audience.
Bangladesh has a large and vigorous media sector, with over 3,100 English and Bengali newspapers and magazines, including over 1,200 dailies. Many newspapers have both English and Bengali versions. The primary English-language dailies published in Dhaka include: The Daily Star, The Financial Express, New Age, The Dhaka Tribune, and The Business Standard. The primary Bengali dailies are ProthomAlo, KalerKontho, Ittefaq, Jugantor, NayaDiganta, and Bangladesh Pratinin.
Bangladesh has more than 30 local private satellite television channels, including: Channel i, ATN Bangla, NTV, RTV, Bangla Vision, Boishakhi, Ekushey TV (ETV), Channel 24, Ekattor, Independent TV, and Jamuna TV. Government-run Bangladesh Betar (radio) offers commercial advertisements, generally in Bengali, while government-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) carries advertisements in English and Bengali. In the private sector, Bangladesh has several FM radio stations, including Radio Furti, Radio Today, Radio Shadhin, and ABC Radio. Broadcast hours of public and private stations vary, with some offering 24-hour coverage.
Satellite television is popular in urban areas, with most programs transmitted from Hong Kong (Star TV) and India. CNN, BBC, ESPN, the Cartoon Network, Discovery, National Geographic, MTV, and other channels from the United States and Europe are also available through local or regional distributors with many carrying local advertising. Local digital cable TV companies, which have sprung up in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet in recent years, offer a relatively wide selection of foreign programming.
Other than a limited number of essential pharmaceutical products and petroleum or gas products, the government does not impose price controls and lets the market set prices. VAT, supplementary duties, and excise taxes are imposed at various rates, depending on the class of goods. For more information, please visit the National Board of Revenue website.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Sales service and customer support are critical, particularly for private sector customers. Marketing consumer durables such as electricity generators, capital machinery, and large air conditioning plants requires sound technical support for installation as well as maintenance needs. Agents of U.S. firms dealing with these products should maintain sufficient technical staff and spare parts stock to support their customers.
Local Professional Services
Bangladesh offers a wide variety of local professional services. The quality is steadily increasing and international services firms are now entering the Bangladeshi market to cater to the needs of the expanding economy. State-owned enterprises continue to be the primary providers of many professional services.
A list of local attorneys is available on the U.S. Embassy Dhaka website.
Principal Business Associations
There are a number of business associations in Bangladesh. Many of these can help to resolve disputes with the Government of Bangladesh or provide advice on doing business. U.S. companies generally join the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) and often join additional industry-specific or regional business associations for additional networking opportunities. The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) is the apex chamber of commerce group and is the primary liaison with the Government of Bangladesh. Other associations focus on industry-specific or region-specific areas. For association-specific information, please note the following organizations:
- American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham)
- Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)
- Foreign Investors’ Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
- Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI)
- International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB)
- International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB)
- Bangladesh Chamber of Industry (BCI)
- Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI)
- Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
- Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)
- Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
Foreign and domestic private entities can establish and own, operate, and dispose of interests in most types of business enterprises. Four sectors, however, are reserved for government investment:
- Arms and ammunition and other defense equipment and machinery;
- Forest plantation and mechanized extraction within the bounds of reserved forests;
- Production of nuclear energy; and
- Security printing.
However, U.S. products and services may be sold to the government entities operating in these sectors.