NEW DELHI: Annual South African imports of sports goods from India increased by 42 per cent in 2014, the Indian envoy here has said while hoping that the growth will be even greater in this year.
A delegation of 22 Indian sports goods exporters under the aegis of the Sports Goods Exports Promotion Council (SGEPC) are in the middle of a week-long visit to South Africa talking to sports goods dealers.
“In 2014, Indian sports goods exports to South Africa registered a robust growth of 42 per cent, up from 88 million rand in 2013 to 125 million rand in 2014,” said Indian High Commissioner to South Africa Ruchi Ghanashyam, as she welcomed the delegation and congratulated exporters on this achievement. But she also advised Indian companies to diversify their product range to tap into the camping, angling, adventure sports and safari markets which were in huge demand in the sport-loving nation.
Tarun Dewan, Executive Director of the SGEPC, said the Council had been coming to South Africa regularly for many years and many members had developed important relationships with local distributors. One such member, Ashwani Mahajan of Avran Exports, said his first deal in South Africa was when Nelson Mandela had been released from prison in the early 1990’s.
“That first deal was for just about $1,000. Last year the same importer took two containers worth $80,000,” Mahajan said, attributing the appeal of Indian sports goods in South Africa to the consistency in quality over the years. Indian Consul-General Randhir Jaiswal told the delegation at a dinner here yesterday that South Africa was India’s fourth largest export market for sports goods.
Jaiswal called upon the SGEPC to give attention to the South African market which was loaded with potential for Indian exporters in areas other than the cricket equipment, soccer balls, training accessories, martial sports equipment, sports clothing, gym support items and toys that were the main focus of Indian sports good exports at present.
“South Africa with its strong sporting and outdoor culture is an attractive market for sports goods. South Africa imported sports goods worth 5,787 million rands in 2014, witnessing a growth of 18 per cent as compared to 2013,” Jaiswal said, adding that India’s main competitors in this area were China, the US and the UK.