Chinese footwear giant to invest Rs.3 bn in India

March 31, 2008 - India

Keen to cash in on the increasing fashion consciousness among youngsters, leading global footwear brand Aokang announced that it would invest Rs.3 billion ( million) in India to set up a factory and open 100 exclusive stores and 500 point of sales in the next five years.

The brand, which is also the official leather goods supplier for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, here Tuesday opened its first store in Emaar MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket.

Speaking at the launch, Anirudh Banerjee, CEO of Aokang International India Pvt Ltd, said: 'With a scheduled investment plan of around Rs.3 billion in a phased manner over the next five years, Aokang India will be one of the largest footwear retailers in the country.'

'While the country's footwear industry is pegged at around .8 billion (Rs.112 billion), the branded segment contributes about .4 billion,' he added.

'There is a huge growth potential in the India and our inherent belief of providing the best international quality footwear will witness a paradigm shift in the Indian market,' Banerjee said.

Bollywood actors Shaana Dias and Priyanshu Chatterjee were present at the store launch.

By the end of this year, the brand will be available in over 200 points of sales, including 15 exclusive stores and other retail and multi-brand outlets.

He said places like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ludhiana and the National Capital Region (NCR) would get at least one outlet each.

Wang Zhentao, chairman and president of Aokang Group said: 'We were waiting for the right moment to enter the Indian market. With a booming economy and high purchasing parity, this is the right time for international brands to enter India.'

Banerjee said production would start in India from April 2010. The group plans to invest Rs.1 billion for the factory. However, it has not zeroed in on its location.

'By 2011, we are planning to export products from India to the US, Japan, Australia, Spain, Hungary and Italy,' he said.

Priced between Rs.1,899 and Rs.3,699, Aokang's spring-summer line is available in formal, casual and party ranges both for women and men.