Interview with Mr. H. K. L. Magu, Chairman of AEPC during International Sourcing Expo, Australia at Melbourne.
Participation in Exhibition
Apparel Export promotion Council, as the nodal body for promoting exports from India, participates in the Australia Fair as this is an important market for Indian Apparel. AEPC participates in various international Exhibitions with their members under MAI (Market Access Initiative) scheme of the Govt of India. The Australia Fair has been part of AEPC’s export promotion events for the last few years.
The purpose of participating in Australia fair has been to explore the market potential and facilitate B2Bs with potential suppliers from India. Initially, when we started participating in this Australia expo, almost 95% of the suppliers were from China and doubts were expressed about feasibility of importing from India. This was because of the buyer’s perspectives that India is far away, it’s difficult to work with India because of logistics issues and time taken for deliveries. I am happy to share that over time this perception has significantly changed and the importers of store have been very appreciative of our merchandise – its quality and variety offered.
We had only 10 -15 exhibitors from India in year 2016 in Sydney. Our Participants are so flexible that if buyers want 50-100 pieces our suppliers are ready to supply but China was not able to supply small quantity. Indian Exporters got good enquiries with minimum 50-100 pcs quantity with good unit values. Indian suppliers available of the benefit that comes with small and flexible order lots. Indian exporters started their business with small quantities, but things have grown over the year.
Stores have started looking at India. Couple of stores – like Target, K mart, has their own office/ buying houses in India. Besides this there are retailers with single shop or few shops that are happy to procure from India through this fair. Our products are a mix of garments, shoes, accessories, carpets, etc.
I am happy to share that his Fair has been able to generate a good buyer footfall rate, with reputed and genuine buyers and has been well organized form the participant’s point of view also. 20 exhibitors have participated from AEPC, 50% are repeat from last year. They come with intention of meeting their existing buyers and meet new customers also.
This market is comparatively new for India as our main focus was in the US and Europe till the last decade. Migrant Indian population has created a demand for Indian products like Knitwear, scarfs, Jaipur prints products , lace embroidery ,traditional; ethnic and crafted items are very well liked by Australian Buyers.
Australian market is not alternative to European countries, as volumes are not as large as in Europe. But being a reverse season market, it is useful to be part of this market. When Europe have winter season – Australia have summer season. This helps exporters to have better capacity utilization of their units, by supplying throughout the year. Thus markets like Africa and Australia are not an alternative but additional market – it’s worth coming here again.
Exports from India is only 3% . China having 80% share, China is vacating space for basics garments as they are more focused on high tech garments. Bangladesh and Pakistan are also having presence in this market, but Indian products are better positioned in this market.
We are not here to compete or beat China but definitely to make a mark with our unique products.