Bangladesh garment industry is awaiting the completion of five state-of-the-art textile factories in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) as an important extension of the local backward linkages in textiles.
Youngone Corporation is a South Korea-based organization that operates and owns KEPZ, located in the southeastern port of Chittagong. With a combined floor space of 2 million square feet, Youngone Corporation will produce manmade fiber (MMF) yarn and finished garments.
Three factories are under construction, and two (producing polyester yarn and cloth) are already open.
Bangladesh mainly imports raw materials from China to produce MMF on duty. According to the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), local spinners imported 99,345 tonnes of polyester staple fiber (PSF) in 2020, up 3.4 percent from the previous year during the coronavirus epidemic. Imports of viscose staple fiber (VSF) also increased with PSF last year, with spinners bringing in 72,504 tonnes of VSF last year.
”Now, if MMF is produced in Bangladesh at the KEPZ Textile Hub, it will reduce the dependence on imports”, said Mohammad Hatem, First Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). Since it will be produced in Bangladesh and will be duty-free, the value-addition will also raise the production of high-end garments, and it will increase Bangladesh’s export earnings.
Md. Mushfiqur Rahman, Assistant General Manager, KEPZ, said, “The five new facilities will be able to meet 25 percent of the MMF demand in Bangladesh.”
Because of lifestyle changes, consumers are looking for products that are easy to care for and sustainable. For this reason, the demand for these synthetic fibers is increasing. The global synthetic fiber market was estimated to reach USD 59.95 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 62.74 billion in 2021 where Bangladesh wants to meet its own needs.
According to BGMEA officials, out of 430 spinning mills in Bangladesh, only 27 are based on synthetic and acrylic fibers and the rest are cotton-spinning mills. According to BTMA, there are 40 PSF mills and 40 VSF mills in Bangladesh.
In view of the growing demand for MMF, Faruque Hassan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that the whole world is now emphasizing MMF and this project by KEPZ will enable Bangladesh to take part in that race.
Youngone is expanding the scope of its Bangladesh-made textile line to include both blended and more sophisticated fabrics, both 100% polyester knit and woven fabrics, polyester blended fabrics, both knit and woven (blended wool, cotton, rayon, spandex, polypropylene (PP) and many more), Merino wool knitwear, and various polyester warp knitted fabrics.
“With the growing importance of MMF, we are focused on increasing our ability to supply fully synthetic and blended textiles in KEPZ,” said Ki Hak Sung, Chairman and CEO of Youngone. These are the primary materials that buyers use, Youngone Corporation has prepared all the sustainability concerns of the world’s top brands to create a completely modern textile zone.
The Korean team is currently investing, managing, and operating directly in the factory but will also work with partners. Youngone CEO welcomes special fabric companies or those interested in investing to join the Youngone team.
Ki Hak Sung said, “Creating a textile production close to KEPZ Garments Manufacturing will reduce lead time by a month, give better margin opportunities and gain competitive advantage, enabling a lower carbon footprint”.
This area will create job opportunities for the local people. KEPZ officials told that it would eventually employ one million workers directly and at least two million more indirectly.