HomeBangladesh3 Chinese auto-makers keen on joint venture in Bangladesh

3 Chinese auto-makers keen on joint venture in Bangladesh

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Three Chinese automobile companies have expressed interest in establishing manufacturing plants in Bangladesh. They seek local business partners to market their vehicles domestically and export them to other countries, including India.

A high-level delegation of 17 members from the Anhui Provincial People’s Congress in China, including representatives of these companies, expressed their interest in investment during a meeting with representatives of the Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCCI) on 23 April.

Chery Automobile Company is interested in establishing an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Bangladesh. At the same time, Jianghuai Automobile Co Ltd and Foton Motors are interested in setting up truck and passenger bus manufacturing plants, according to the BCCCI.

Another Chinese company, Heli, which specializes in forklift vehicles, has also expressed interest in partnering with Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to establish a manufacturing plant in Bangladesh.

Similarly, Gotion High Tech Co Ltd, also from China, has shown interest in conducting research and establishing a plant for high-tech battery production in the country.

Sources say two Bangladeshi companies, Akij Group, and ACI Motors, have already expressed willingness to invest with the Chinese companies.

The delegation arrived in Bangladesh on 22 April. They departed from Bangladesh last night after engaging in discussions with the deputy speaker of the parliament and officials from the Dhaka North City Corporation.

In the meeting with the Chinese delegation, Sheikh Amin Uddin, director of Akij Group and director of BCCCI, expressed his interest in jointly investing with Chery Automobile Company to establish an electric vehicle and lithium battery production plant.

Humayun Rashid, managing director of Energypac, participated in the meeting with the Chinese delegation. He told the Daily Dhaka Times that they are collaborating with China’s JAC and Heli companies to manufacture special-purpose vehicles, including refrigerated covered vans, regular covered vans, and cranes for street light maintenance. The designs for these vehicles have already been finalized.

He said the Anhui provincial government in China is encouraging its companies to increase investment in Bangladesh. Consequently, officials from various Chinese automobile companies have visited Bangladesh with the delegation.

“We will be assembling electric buses and electric trucks in partnership with Chinese companies. Currently, we have invested Tk150 crore with plans to invest an additional Tk500 crore,” he said.

Additionally, ACI Motors Chief Executive FH Ansari expressed interest in collaborating with Chinese companies in the manufacturing and assembly sector of passenger buses and other vehicles in Bangladesh.

FH Ansari told the Daily Dhaka Times there was a fruitful discussion with the Chinese delegation.

“We will engage in Foton pre-manufacturing in Bangladesh through collaboration with Chinese companies. Additionally, a Chinese company is interested in producing lithium batteries, and ACI Motors will manufacture lithium batteries in a joint venture with them,” he said.

Ansari added, “We are interested in jointly manufacturing passenger buses with Chery Automobile Company.”

BCCCI Secretary General Al Mamun Mridha told the Daily Dhaka Times that Chinese companies have come to Bangladesh to seek business partners for investment in their business expansion.

“Officials from Akij Group, ACI Motors, and other companies from various industries in Bangladesh were present at the meeting. They have expressed interest in investing in the automobile industry through joint ventures with Chinese companies,” he said.

Agro-processing and renewable

Mamun said a senior official from an agro-processing company in Anhui province, China, was part of the delegation. They are interested in investing in Bangladesh’s agro-processing and renewable energy sectors.

However, he could not provide specific information regarding the amount of investment the Chinese companies intend to make in these ventures.

Currently, Asian Motorspex Limited exclusively distributes Chery brand gasoline cars in Bangladesh, while ACI Motors assembles Foton brand trucks and Energypac assembles JAC brand trucks in the country.

The Chinese automobile manufacturer Chery Automobile Co Ltd entered Bangladesh in 2022. The company operates in 80 countries, serving a customer base of nearly 10 million. It has an R&D team of over 5,500 members and independent centers in China, Germany, the United States, and Brazil.

Last year, China expressed interest in establishing an electric vehicle assembly plant in Bangladesh. In August, Chinese envoy to Dhaka Yao Wen said that if Chinese investors established an electric car assembly plant in Bangladesh, they would access a promising market, and Bangladesh would benefit as well.

The government aims to have at least 15% of registered vehicles electric by 2030.

South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai and Malaysia’s Proton have invested in Bangladesh alongside local companies such as Runner Group and Bangladesh Auto Industries Ltd (Bail). Investment from at least six other manufacturers in four-wheeler manufacturing, including South Korea’s Kia, is in the pipeline.

The Chinese delegation was led by Wei Xiaoming, vice chairman of the Anhui Provincial People’s Congress. Song Yang, the commercial counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh, was also present at the meeting.

Delegates see opportunity and potential

Wei Xiaoming said there was $319 million in trade between Bangladesh and Anhui province in 2023. He emphasised that Bangladesh offers numerous opportunities and significant potential for investment.

Most of the delegation comprised representatives from China’s Anhui Provincial Government, with additional representatives from automobile companies.

Visiting team members included Yang Anguo, chairman and general manager of Forklift Group; Li Mingjun, deputy general manager of Heli Industrial Vehicle Import and Export Co; Yin Xingke, DGM of Jianghuai Automobile Group Co; Huang Fude, deputy secretary of Jianghuai Automobile Group and JAC International.

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