The country’s bicycle sector is anticipating a boost as local demand and export orders for bicycles increase in the wake of the global Covid outbreak. Bicycles are becoming more popular because they are environmentally friendly, socially distance-friendly, and safer means of transportation. The market is rapidly expanding, and the percentage of bicycles made domestically is rising.
The Bangladesh Bicycle Merchant Assembling and Importers Association estimate that the local market demand for bicycles is approximately Tk 1,200 crore per year, with a large increase in annual demand.
Bicycles are safer and more environmentally beneficial than public transportation, according to Kamaruzzaman Kamal, marketing director of local bicycle manufacturer Pran RFL.’These days, traffic jams are becoming more common. That’s why people are using bicycles as an easy mode of communication,’ he said.
‘So, students are utilizing bicycles to go to their educational institutions, and the rate of use is increasing day by day,’ he added, adding that per capita income is increasing, as is people’s purchasing power. Imports from India and China currently dominate the Bangladeshi domestic market, with 60 percent of bicycles imported to suit local demand.
Bicycle exports from the country, on the other hand, have increased dramatically in recent years. According to data from the Export Promotion Bureau, manufacturers shipped bicycles worth roughly $130 million in the fiscal year 2020-21, which is 50% more than the previous year.’We are unable to develop the backward linkage industry, which is critical,’ says the author and If we succeed, the number of bicycles exported will rise.’ Kamaruzzaman expressed his thoughts. The bicycle business now has three major exporters, with Meghna Group being the largest. The Pran-RFL Group also sells bicycles under the Duranta Bikes brand. Pran-RFL is a newcomer to the market, having launched in 2015. Alita Bangladesh, a Taiwan-based company in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone, is the other significant exporter.
Manufacturers are optimistic about diversifying and extending their product lines for export, particularly to European markets. Consumers in the European Union countries buy roughly 18 million bicycles per year, making them one of the largest markets for bicycles.
According to Eurostat, the statistical arm of the European Union, Bangladesh became the third-largest supplier of bicycles to the United Kingdom and the European Union in 2017.
Alita Bangladesh Limited’s general manager, AHM Ferdous, stated that the industry’s prospects were quite bright due to the numerous benefits of bicycles.
After the government imposed limits on utilizing public transportation because of the Covid outbreak, the industry received a lot of attention. According to him, traffic congestion is one of the factors driving up demand for bicycles.
The business has recently slowed due to an increase in raw material prices on the worldwide market, he added. According to the BBMAIA, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam supply 30 to 40% of the raw materials used to manufacture bicycles in Bangladesh. Import levies on raw materials range from 10% to 25%, resulting in increased prices for customers, according to the report. The tax on spare components is considerably higher, with parts like brakes, gears, and chains having an average charge of 55%, according to the report, which also stated that a few products like bicycle frames, tires, rims, and spokes are created locally. Local manufacturers are having a difficult time competing on the home market with overseas competitors, according to a representative of the group.
‘As China has imposed anti-dumping duty, we have good opportunities to grab the Europe market. After the coronavirus outbreak, European countries are importing more bicycles,’ he said.
The industry is under the heavy industry category. So, it requires huge investments for a bicycle manufacturing plant, he said.
To grab the foreign market, the industry needs policy support from the government, he said.