The quality and design of ceramic products in Bangladesh have attracted foreign buyers.
Fillol Hernandez, Technical Sales Manager of Italy's NORD SPORT DI FESTA OMAR, happens to be one of them. He is willing to buy ceramic products of $2million from RAK Ceramics.
He placed the order on the concluding day of a three-day international ceramic expo in Dhaka.
Hernandez is also attracted to the ceramic products of Shinepukur, Sheltech, Akij and Greatwall.
He said his company is interested in buying ceramic items from Bangladesh on a regular basis from next year.
Sergio Fillol Hernandez believes the design and smoothness of Bangladeshi products have drawn attention to them.
Speaking to The Business Standard, he said, "Bangladesh has manufactured the products with unique designs and quality. Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are offering standard products at prices cheaper than China, Thailand and Vietnam."
"We have checked the quality and prices. Bangladesh's products are cheaper than India's," he added.
Bangladeshi ceramic products have had a good reputation in the European markets since much earlier. Moreover, building construction tiles, basins, and commodes have attracted the foreigners in recent times.
Buyers from different European countries, including Italy, Germany and France as well as the United States have been demonstrating their enthusiasm over Bangladeshi products while taking part in the three-day international ceramic expo in Dhaka.
At the expo, Indian buyers have also been impressed with the ceramic products.
Buyers from different countries are clearly satisfied with the standard of Bangladesh's ceramic items.
On a visit to the expo at the Bashundhara Convention Centre in the city, this correspondent noticed tableware products attracting foreigners the most.
Hebert Triptrap of FERRO Corporation from Germany has visited the expo. He checked the quality and design of tableware items at the stall of Bangladesh Farr Ceramics. He is attracted by the design and finish of the products.
Talking to The Business Standard, Hebert Triptrap said, "There are some excellent products, notably dining tables and tea tables. The design and smoothness of the products are very attractive. I am now seeing the items, but later, I will come again and strike agreements."
Asked as to why he was drawn so much to Bangladesh ceramics, he replied, "I have visited a number of pavilions of tiles and tableware. Craftsmanship and finishing of the tiles are unique. Engineers here have ensured perfection of material combination."
Organisers said several hundred buyers from at least 20 countries, including in Europe, America and India, have visited the expo this year.
A number of companies and 300 representatives from 12 countries attended the expo with their products, including machinery, raw material and technology for the ceramic industry.
They consider the rapidly growing economy of Bangladesh as a potential market. Students from the building construction related subjects and entrepreneurs in the related field also visited the ceramic expo.
The world famous Turkish company Unimax, which supplies machinery for the ceramic industry, set up a stall at the expo.
UmutMert, marketing manager of the company, told The Business Standard, "Bangladesh has 66 ceramic factories. Several others are waiting to go into operation. Bangladesh has a massive potential in the ceramic sector. We have received good responses in the expo."
The organisers are happy with the presence of foreigners in the expo and the orders that have been placed.
Sirajul Islam Mollah, President of the Bangladesh Ceramic Wares Manufacturers Association, noted that this year's expo had attracted a record number of local and international visitors.
Many companies have received a large number of export orders. "But we cannot give the actual figure."