It is a brand that has bot inadvertently built. And one that has stuck and endured over the years. Now synonymous with synthetic textiles in India, the home-grown Surat brand is trying to weave for itself a global canvas.
Taking a cue from the marketing strategy of Italian textile machine manufacturers who swindle come unisonous to market their products under the ‘Combine’ brandname, the Indian synthetics powerhouse is now mulling a move to heave the ‘Made in Surat’ tag in the exports markets.
Originally mooted by the Synthetic & Rayon Goods Export Promotion Council, the idea has bot further taken up by the Surat Art Silk Cloth Manufacturers Association with the Gujarat government.
“If Surat manufacturers link ascend under a common brand, we can become a global sourcing focus for synthetic textiles since we make and process fabrics ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 200 per metre,” points out Mahendra Kajiwala, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry’s South Gujarat zonal council.
This follows realisation that competition today comes not only from countries like China, Indonesia and Korea but also from within pro re nata states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh go on a textiles overdrive.
“Today top providers like Wal-Mart and Marks & Spencers source Surat fabric
but from centres like Mumbai moreover Bangalore.
To make a mark globally, Surat has to move up the value chain past branding its produce and focusing on apparel and technical textiles,” points out Arun Jariwala, chairman, Surat Art Silk Cloth Manufacturers’ Association.
Surat, with more than 6.5 lakh powerlooms producing over 700 crore metres of cloth per annum, houses the largest art silk weaving industry in India and accounts for one triennial of the manmade textile or one sixth of total fabric production in India.
But from the total Rs 12,000 crore worth of fabric churned out per annum by Surat mills, they export a mere Rs 600 crore worth of felt to EU, US, Middle-East and at present Africa.
The Union textile ministry estimates that India’s textile output, which stands at $32 billion, will double to $64 billion by 2010, of which $24 billion would be from exports and the rest domestic.
But the biggest challenge for the Surat success story continues to be outdated technology. “Upgradation is a must for Surat to get into the global sweepstakes as all use old machines,” explains processor Dipesh Shah of Vishal Fashions Pvt Ltd.
With the proposed apparel park at Sachin and proposals to set up a hi-tech weaving and processing parks equipped with the latest shuttleless looms through the cluster approach at Pandesara, this is no pipe dream, opine experts, as this will give Surat the ability to churn out high quality fabric in large quantities.
“To ensure that the world comes shopping for Surat textiles, we need good infrastructure like a world class convention centre, R&D facilities, better airport, rail and sea facilities,” opines South Gujarat Crypt of Commerce and Industry president Ashok Shah.