Doing Business in Bangladesh

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September 16 Dhaka skyline, Bangladesh

For years the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka has served as a point of financial interest on the world stage. The city and other notable economic hot spots, such as the port of Chittagong, have a long history among trade paper headlines and as a subject of water cooler discussion thanks to the nation’s appetite for growth.

It is no surprise, then, that Dhaka regularly draws a high number of business travellers from beyond its borders. With the capital enjoying high footfall from business travellers each year, there are some key factors to consider before your journey.

Dhaka, a melting pot of activity

Dhaka 2

With an estimated population of over 15 million, Dhaka is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Known as the City of Mosques, this melting pot of cultures and activity moves at a pace few urban hubs can match. Rapid modernisation has also ushered in a rise of five-star hotels in Dhaka, along with luxury shopping complexes and world class eateries.

Despite its restless nature, Dhaka is regarded as safe, although travellers should be aware of pick-pocketing among crowds. And while this governmental seat of power has seen its share of protests, these are typically peaceful, although disruptive to transport routes.

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While efforts have been made to reduce traffic and carbon emissions across Dhaka, concerns regarding air pollution remain. Combined with an average annual temperature of 25°C (77 °F), this can make roaming around outdoors difficult for those with respiratory conditions, or for travellers who become generally uncomfortable during long periods of heat exposure.

It is therefore important to consider that travel to and from business meetings may become hindered thanks to gridlock or other issues, and it is advised that travellers must allow suitable time to make appointments. The Pan Pacific Dhaka hotel offers a range of business facilities and services to assist you with preparations for appointments before you venture out onto the streets.

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Make an impression in Dhaka

During your trip to Dhaka, it is useful to be armed with some basic phrasing to use when greeting local residents, whether they are market sellers in the old town or boardroom executives. The common greeting in Bangladeshi culture is “Asalamu alaikum,” which is considered the western equivalent to saying hello. When someone greets you with this phrase, the expected reply is “Wa alaykumu as-salam.” Literally translated, this response means, “And unto you peace,” but it is generally regarded to be a polite reply to any greeting.

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With a little understanding of national customs and dialect, business travellers will find it easier to make a positive impression during their stay. However, it is important to appreciate that people in Bangladesh generally speak with exaggerated body language and rarely smile during business encounters, as it is regarded both immature and unprofessional. Visitors should remember that a cold response is in no way indicative of disrespect in either formal or informal surroundings.

While Dhaka can appear daunting and over-crowded at the outset, those equipped with a firm grasp of Bangladeshi pleasantries and mannerisms will encounter few issues while exploring the streets or doing business in the city. Whether travelling for work or pleasure, you are sure to soon find yourself inspired by this vibrant and exciting city.

Have you done business in Dhaka? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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