New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) China might be the largest producer of footwear in the world, but the Italian footwear fair has chosen to hold its business-to-business event in India for its skilled labour and growing economy.
This is the first time a footwear and leather accessories fair, Expo Riva Schuh India - showcasing handbags, luggage, belts and gloves - is being organised in India and for this event the Council for Leather Exports(CLE), India, and the Expo Riva Schuh Garda Fair, Italy, have collaborated to upgrade production, quality and distribution.
'Indian market has been obvious choice for us for so many reasons. Firstly, you have skilled labour. Secondly we see huge potential in the Indian market and we would like to explore it,' Roney Simon, managing director, Expo Riva Schuh India, told IANS at a press conference here Wednesday. The fair will be held July 28-30 at New Delhi's Pragati Maidan.
'Also, there was a great need for an international fair in the leather and footwear sector in India and this event will make India a global hub for sourcing leather, shoes, garments and finished goods,' he added.
When asked why not China, Simon said: 'China is the biggest shoe manufacturer in the world, but China has lost because of the labour issues.'
According to CLE website, India is the second largest global producer of footwear after China, accounting for 13 percent of global footwear production of 16 billion pairs.
India produces 2065 million pairs of different categories of footwear and exports about 115 million pairs.
The Indian footwear market is experiencing continual evolution and rapid growth, says Ali Ahmed Khan, CLE's executive director. He added: 'India is attractive to them because there is a growth in the middle-class who are earning well, and secondly there is decrease in export in some of the major European markets because of downsized production and operational issues.'
'Also, the partnership will also focus on strengthening distribution channels of the domestic market,' he added.
The fair will have around 200 participants, and besides domestic companies, international firms from China, Bangladesh, Thailand and Italy are participating in the three-day event at Pragati Maidan's Hall No. 14.
Simon also said that the fair is not posing a threat or competition to the domestic retailers.
'It is a win-win situation for everyone. We are not here for any competition but how does one enter Indian market? It's retail, import, marketing, branding...we are introducing more brands and hence providing people with more options. Domestic retailers can partner with the international brands and grow,' he said.