Bay's leather park eyes $25m Chinese fund

Chinese companies are likely to invest Tk 200 crore ($25 million) at the Bay's planned leather and footwear industrial park in the Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chittagong. According to Bay Group, 18 leather and footwear makers based in China are interested to make the investment in order to produce leather goods and footwear.
The investment figure is an initial estimation and it will go up gradually, said an official of the group. At least 1,000 jobs will be created directly at the park. A business meeting between Bay Group and the Chinese investors' group will take place at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka today with a view to establishing the industrial park.
A total of 18 managing directors and chief executive officers of Chinese footwear and leather companies, including Ju Qiang Flyknit, Shuang Qi Apparel & Footwear, Yan Shan Footwear Sole, Hua Xia Happiness, Jia Le Footwear Materials, and Emma Group, will be present. Naushad Hassan, communications officer of Bay Group, said the group organised a roadshow in China a few days ago to attract Chinese investors, particularly those in the leather sector.
Today's meeting will discuss the modalities of the planned investment, he said. According to Hassan, the Chinese investors are keen to establish their production units out of China in order to lower production cost. Bay Footwear, one of the top footwear exporters in Bangladesh, has already sought 100 acres of land from the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) to set up the industrial park.Established in 2001, Bay Footwear supplies products to global brands Timberland and Clarks and its key export destinations are the US, Europe, and Asia.
Its current annual production capacity stands at 2 million to 4 million pieces and it has already created jobs for about 4,500 people. On the initiative of Bay Footwear, Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Beza, said leather is a potential sector for Bangladesh with good export records over the years.
“If Bay Group confirms its foreign investment in the industrial park, we will provide land,” he said.
The leather and leather goods sector, the second largest export earner after garments, fetched $999.07 million in the July-May period of the just concluded fiscal year.

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