Made in India vs. China: Ludhiana's Hosiery War


22 January 2024, Mumbai

The rhythmic whir of knitting machines in Ludhiana, India's hosiery hub, might soon be replaced by the ominous silence of job losses and factory closures. This once-thriving center of textile production is facing a formidable foe: an influx of cheap synthetic fibers from China, undercutting local manufacturers and threatening the livelihoods of thousands.

  • Undercutting the Fabric of Success:

    Chinese imports, boasting a 10-15% price advantage, are luring consumers with their affordability. This price war directly impacts the weavers, spinners, and exporters who form the backbone of Ludhiana's hosiery industry. Vallabh Yarns' Manoj Jain paints a grim picture, urging the government to intervene and shield this vital sector from the "massive influx" of Chinese fabrics. Failure to act, he warns, could inflict irreparable damage.

  • Uneven Playing Field:

    Ludhiana isn't lacking in potential. A skilled workforce, readily available raw materials, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit give it a natural edge. However, the suspected mislabeling of Chinese polyester as cotton throws a wrench in the works. This deceptive tactic lowers import duties, further tilting the scales in China's favor.

  • Stitching Together Solutions:

    The hosiery industry needs a multi-pronged approach to combat these challenges. Sudhir Nayyar of Kapil Hosiery Works suggests increased credit availability for small businesses as a potential first step. This could level the playing field and empower local manufacturers to compete more effectively. Additionally, ensuring accurate labeling and stricter import regulations are crucial to creating a fair and transparent market.

  • Beyond Survival, a Call for Rejuvenation:

    Ludhiana's strategic location and unwavering entrepreneurial spirit are its greatest assets. The government, industry leaders, and consumers must come together to support this heritage industry.

    By implementing targeted measures, promoting quality local brands, and fostering responsible manufacturing practices, Ludhiana can not only weather this storm but emerge stronger, more sustainable, and ready to reclaim its rightful place as the textile champion of India.

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