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Indian textile firms need to go vertical – Sanjay Lalbhai
Feb '14
“Indian textile companies need to go vertical and also set-up large scale apparel manufacturing plants, if India wants to increase its market share in the global textile trade”, Mr Sanjay Lalbhai, doyen of the Indian textile industry and CMD of Arvind Ltd informed delegates at a conference held in Ahmedabad.

The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) recently held a conference in Ahmedabad titled - Textile Investment Conclave 2014, which sought to attract investments in the Gujarat textile and apparel sector. 

Over 300 well-heeled delegates got the rare opportunity to hear Mr Sanjay Lalbhai share his thoughts and experiences with Mr Arvind Singhal, Chairman of Technopak.

During the course of the over one hour interactive session Mr Singhal asked Mr Lalbhai several questions related to the Indian textile and apparel sector, which were answered articulately by Mr Lalbhai to the delight of the delegates.

Please find below a small excerpt of the interactive session and also a video, which can be watched online.

Mr Arvind Singhal: Post the post-quota 2005 period, has the Indian textile industry really missed the bus, unlike China which has seen its textile and apparel output and exports surge in the last few years. 

Mr Sanjay Lalbhai: If you really look at the world trade, in 2003 it was around US $430 billion, which reached around $750 billion by 2012 and is likely to be $1150 billion by 2020. In 2003, the Indian textile trade was 3% of the world trade, which graduated to just 4.5% in 2012. In the same period, Chinese global market-share which stood at 17% in 2003, surged to 33% by 2012.

The main reasons for the slow progress of the Indian textile industry is not being able to undertake new projects on a very large scale and more important for not having gone in for verticalization. We are still dependent on Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or a Vietnam to convert our fabrics in to clothing. Though European buyers are willing to shift their business from China to India, they are apprehensive of having their orders being fulfilled on time, due to lack of large capacities in the apparel manufacturing sector.

Unfortunately, Bangladesh is currently facing compliance issues in its apparel factories, which makes the scene unsure over there. So unless India does not take garmenting seriously, it will be difficult to seize market share from China. The future of the Indian textile industry lies in verticalization of the sector, which is what can help India grab a major portion of the global textile trade, which is going to grow by $400 billion in next four to five years. 

In India, there are very few garment factories, which can match the scale of many Chinese factories, which have even up to 30,000 workers working in a single plant, with dormitories. In cities, workers have an option of working in several industrial sectors, while in rural areas, getting good professionals is a challenge. The answer lies in building dormitories for workers, which can help reduce labour woes, which everybody is complaining about. If we do not think of large scale apparel factories, I dare say that India will once again miss the boat.

Click here to view the whole interactive session. 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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