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The Indian Textile Journal - February 2009 Viewpoint
Their Loss is Our Gain?

During the last two months in 2008, the textile industry in Asia received the worst of news. The decline in overall export of textiles and clothing from India hit a new low, a fall of about 20%. China lost grounds with its exports of T&C, mainly to the western countries, dipping by 5%, which amounts to about US$ 7 billion of its total US$ 140 billion. China's loss may be India's gain! A leader from the Indian textile industry quips: “Doesn't this 5% now available to the Indian industry for the grabs. Be competitive, you will get it”. It is easy said than done. There may be many buts & ifs to this argument, but one must understand that the decline in demand and fall in production are comparatively lesser in India than in some other countries, affirms the Joint Secretary of Textiles. And solutions to this impasse with conditions have come from all quarters. Two crucial issues are at the centre of this dilemma. Textile industry in India has lost the cushion of comfort – protection. The soft option is to create a situation where demand is more than the supply. Innovation is a little tougher option, but has always brought long-lasting results. However, innovations need to be thought through from product concept to retail in the complex value of textile chain. Consumer is willing to pay a higher price only when he or she sees better values. Only if you are ahead of your competitor in understanding the requirements of your customer you can win. In short, one cannot fill the gap in demand generated by someone losing their share in the pie. In the recent past, countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka emerged as winners in the T&C market because they tailored products to suit the market requirements. Textile industry has many new areas with scope for innovation and new challenges. So, we cannot count the neighbour's loss as our gain without doing proper homework.

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