Thukten Zangpo

Bhutan is exploring the possibility of setting up silicon chip and graphite battery industries in the country. The move is part of the government’s plan to transform the country’s industrial sector and boost its economy.

“We need drastic change and transformation in the industry sector,” said Karma Dorji, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Employment. “The transformation in the sector is a must and the roadmap will direct how our manufacturing sector will grow.”  

The government plans to increase the GDP share from the manufacturing sector from 6 percent to 15 percent by 2029. To achieve this, the government is working on an Industry Transformation Roadmap. 

As Bhutan aims to double the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to USD 5 billion (B) and USD 10B by 2034, Lyonpo said that the biggest share will be from the industry sector. 

Bhutan has a number of advantages that make it well-suited for these industries. The country has abundant deposits of silicon and graphite, which are the main raw materials used in the production of silicon chips and graphite batteries. 

Ferro-silicon is the country’s top exported goods. In 2022, Bhutan exported 16.22B worth of ferrosilicon and Nu 15.28B in 2021. Many ferrosilicon factories are also emerging in the country. 

The government is confident that these industries will be successful in Bhutan. “These two industries have predictability and sustainability as the world is moving into these technologies,” said Lyonpo. “Bhutan could also have a share in these industries.”

However, the government acknowledges that it will need to improve its capacity and capability in order to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and make these industries a success. “An improvement will be needed in our capability and capacity including attracting more foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the sector,” said Lyonpo.

The government is confident that it can achieve its goals. “Setting a vision and roadmap along with support and policy reforms will make a conducive environment for not only the government but also for the private sector and FDIs to start these manufacturing plants,” said Lyonpo.