India Expands into Non-Leather Footwear Manufacturing

India Expands into Non-Leather Footwear Manufacturing

India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu is emerging as a major hub for non-leather footwear manufacturing, with major Taiwanese shoe companies such as Shoetown, Feng Tay, and Pou Chen setting up factories in the state.

The manufacturing of shoes for global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Crocs signals India’s potential to take over world markets for made-in-India footwear.

Picture courtesy: Unsplash

The first such factory, a joint venture between Shoetown and India’s Phoenix-Kothari Group to make Crocs shoes, recently opened in the city of Perambalur‘s new footwear park.

The shift to Tamil Nadu is driven by global trends such as sustainability and diversification of supply chains. Non-leather shoes are more environmentally friendly, while situating production in India helps diversify away from over-reliance on China.

The state government has also offered incentives such as subsidies to attract foreign investment in footwear. So far, Tamil Nadu claims deals worth $200 million in this sector.

While India accounts for only $214 million in non-leather shoe exports currently, the state is poised to increase this figure and compete with countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Taiwan choosing India over other manufacturing locations signals an advantage for the country.

Some highlights on Tamil Nadu’s footwear industry:

  • Contributes 32% of India’s footwear production
  • Holds a 48% share in footwear exports exceeding $2 billion
  • Brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger already manufacture or source materials from the state.

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