Cottage and Small Industries (CSI) is working on expanding its reach in the international market, driven by the strategic approach to promote Bhutanese products globally.
According to a CSI official, “The new CSI market in Dhaka, Bangladesh have been confirmed, however, we’re still working on the other two countries, Singapore and China.”
To identify potential international markets, CSI has been diligently conducting market research. This research involves analyzing online store orders, studying government trade statistics, and referencing international studies conducted by organizations. Their findings have identified strong demand for premium and niche products from Bhutan in various countries.
“While we’re the largest aggregator for value-added products from Bhutan, there are independent traders in certain countries. CSI aims to leverage its scale and long-term sustainability to maintain a competitive edge. We delve into their plans, strategies, and aspirations for entering new markets and gaining international recognition,” the official added further.
Before entering these new markets, CSI acknowledges the importance of adhering to legal and regulatory requirements. This includes fulfilling nutrition test requirements, providing detailed manufacturer and importer information, and obtaining clearance from relevant authorities. Each country presents its unique set of regulations and standard.
CSI’s market entry strategy primarily focuses on exporting its products. They plan to scale up and aggregate their offerings, facilitating container shipments and bulk air shipments to target markets. Additionally, CSI is exploring partnerships and collaborations with local businesses and distributors in these regions.
To effectively manage logistics and supply chain operations, CSI intends to invest in infrastructure and innovative technologies that reduce costs, enhance efficiency, and improve productivity.
CSI acknowledges the necessity of adapting its products, particularly packaging, to conform to local preferences and customs in each new market it enters. Typically, it costs around USD 50,000 or more to open a new market and target an annual growth rate of approximately 10 percent.
CSI is fully cognizant of potential risks and has contingency plans in place. Rigorous risk analysis, standardized operating procedures (SOPs), and thorough assessments are integral to minimizing risks and rectifying any errors that may arise.
The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industries (BCCI) President mentioned that things would have been easier had Bhutan been able to get the international certification without depending on other countries.
CSI promote Brand Bhutan certification programs for local certification for made in Bhutan and products grown in Bhutan, but for international certification based on requirements, it can take several months to years. Certifications are a critical requirement to comply with requirements of other countries. Nutritional test certification and other tests will be required for this.
CSI’s long-term vision is to establish a vibrant CSI industry with global market access, where Bhutanese products can tap into untapped global markets. The timeline for entering each market is estimated to be between 6 to 12 months.
CSI has previously opened new markets in Perth, Western Australia and New York, United States of America.
The market caters to Bhutanese overseas with over 100 plus products.
According to the CSI official, the stores in Australia and United States are doing good business, and they are working on further optimizing logistics to lower the costs and make the products even more competitive while assuring quality.
CSI measures success through various key performance indicators, including sales revenue, market share, logistics lead time, efficiency, and supply potential.