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Bangladesh terry towels exports rise to $1.2 billion annually

Bangladesh terry towels exports rise to 1.2 billion annually

Around 110 companies produce home textile and terry towel items in Bangladesh currently, according to the Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers & Exporters Association. Their factories employ nearly 65,000 workers and have investments totaling around $1.20 billion.

The success of the terry towel business in Bangladesh is attributed to Sonar Cotton Mills, the first towel factory in the Chattogram Export Processing Zone.  According to The Business Standard, the factory has helped Bangladesh increase towels and home textiles production and exports to $1.2 billion annually.    

Terry Towels a booming business

Established in the 1984 by Rais Khan, a Pakistani-born US citizen, Sonar Cotton Mills produces around 30,000 kg of towels per month. The company exported terry towels worth over 1.62 million in FY2021-22. Its products are now sold at multinational shops such as Amazon. Currently, the factory is run by Khan's son Shariq Khan who joined the production unit in 2002. 

Shariq attributes the company’s success to the local towel-making sector and fashion quota system for the least developed countries through which the US sourced 1.2 million kg of towels from Bangladesh. He affirms, Bangladesh has a good reputation for skilled workers, many of whom joined the factory in 1984 and contributed to its current success.  

The company faced many challenges along its journey, says Shariq. The factory was hit by a cyclone in 1992 which damaged all machines. It took him seven years to restore production in 1998.  Barely recovered, it was once again hit by the 2007-08 global recession, which forced it to allow local investments in the factory.

Since 2003, Sonar Cotton has exported products worth $19.73, as per the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA).The company has many new orders despite using its full manufacturing capacity. It now plans to set up a new factory in Mymensingh to double production in the next two years, Shariq asserts. 



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