Mr. Balachander M A M who is a business tycoon and a Chennai based manufacturer and exporter of leather shoes as well as shoe uppers was gearing up to strengthen his business. Winner oversea is a firm that mainly supplied to the Germans. The CEO and partner of the same had a discussion with an American buyer, who had convinced him to find an alternative sourcing based to China.

A couple of months later, the news of novel coronavirus broke. Suddenly they had cancellation of orders and the situation was unavoidable. The traders had put their words that they were anxious to source much more from India than earlier as they did not want to depend on China. “But we don’t know when things will be normal. Even when it does, it is not easy to wriggle out of the Chinese grip”, said Balachander.

The uncertainty over Covid-19 is expected to have led to a sharp decline in the business, while in 2018-19, exports of the Indian leather industry amounted to $5.69 billion. “Our experts stood at $5.69 billion last year. Estimates show that we have so far achieved around $4.34 billion the fiscal and we need to catch up with another $1.4 billion to touch last year’s numbers. We are awaiting final numbers for this fiscal to figure out actual exports,” said R Selvam, executive director, Council for Leather Exports.

Nearly one-third of the leather manufacturing units are being held by South India. The predominance of the south in the industry also stems from the fact that the Council for Leather Exports, the industry body for leather, is based in Chennai.

Being a hub for industry and as an employment option for rural folk, Tamil Nadu plays a significant role in the South.


D Govardan | TNN | Apr 1, 2020. (n.d.). Chennai: Exports cancelled, leather industry gets the boot: Chennai News – Times of India. Retrieved from