SM Ashraful Alam, founder managing director (MD) of Walton Hi-Tech Industries, is entering the country's consumer care industry with a large investment.
He has set up a company named Remark HB as an affiliated partner in Asia of the US-based Remark LLC to manufacture about 400 to 500 products belonging to 40 bands of colour cosmetics, skincare, home care and personal care.
However, a top official of Walton Group said that the electronic giant has no investment in the new venture.
He said Remark HB is a completely personal initiative of Ashraful Alam, a former managing director and current director of Walton. "So, we can't make a formal comment on this matter," he added.
Ashraful Alam could not be reached on phone despite multiple attempts to elicit his comments.
Although none of the entrepreneurs spoke about the degree of investment, Remark officials said that a skin research centre would be set up along with the cosmetics industry with an investment of around Tk2,000 crore.
They also claimed that the factory under construction on 100 acres of land in Gazaria, Munshiganj, is the first major investment in the skin and care sector in the country.
The officials say Walton was founded by Ashraful Alam. He has embarked on this new venture to create another brand like Walton.
The venture has a big goal of meeting demand in the domestic market by manufacturing world-class quality cosmetics products in Bangladesh.
The officials say the investment will gradually go up to around Tk2,000 crore and about 15,000 people will get direct employment opportunities here.
Ashraful Ambia, managing director of Remark HB Limited, said, "We also aim to implement the government's goal of economic development through rapid industrialisation and job creation in the country."
"We will set up an environmentally friendly green industry. We have received clearances from the Department of Environment, the Fire Service and the local administration," he added.
The Remark officials say the wide range of the company's products, from face primer to shampoo, is sure to make people's daily life abundantly exciting. It promises to bring about a remarkable change in the concept of beauty with products carefully tailored to satisfy consumers' needs.
A member of the Remark team said, "We plan to target markets worldwide and have been conceptualising recipes from a geographical perspective. Our global R&D teams are focusing on creating products that complement all climate types globally found.
"We have established strategies uniquely planned to innovate and excite consumers' monotonous lives," he added.
According to Remark Bangladesh sources, Remark HB Limited, as an affiliate of Remark LLC, USA, is investing heavily in research and development in Europe-America's reputed product research and development organisation for manufacturing international quality products.
Stakeholders said that the market size of the industry is around $3 billion and it is getting even bigger with a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%.
Research organisations like Light Castle Partners and Allied Market Research, however, said that the estimated market size of Bangladesh's skincare or personal care industry was $1.23 billion in 2020 and is expected to hit $2.12 billion by 2027.
The reports also noted that the industry will have a growth of 8.1% from 2021 to 2027.
But counterfeit products that damage the skin instead of beautifying it remains the main threat to the sector's growth.
Industry insiders said that the market is dominated by some major players, notably Unilever Bangladesh, Kohinoor, Square, Keya, Moushumi Industries, Marico, Reckitt Benckiser Bangladesh, Dabur and Delta Group.
These companies together hold more than 95% of the market share for local products, they added.
Sharif Mohammad Ali Sumon, head of Corporate Affairs at Remark HB Limited, said the country imports cosmetics worth around Tk10,000 crore every year.
"Remark's initiative will transform this import-dependent industry into an export industry," he added.
According to multiple sources in the company, the company is also researching cosmetic products and environmentally friendly packaging components.