interview with: Ms Arti Bhagat – Director of Worldex India Exhibition and Promotion Pvt Ltd (INTEX South Asia Organizer)
by: KOHAN TEXTILE JOURNAL – PRESS REPORT
Incorporated in 2004, Worldex India Exhibition & Promotion Pvt. Ltd. organises and represents international trade exhibitions, buyer-seller meets, conference, inbound/outbound trade missions etc. in South Asia & South-East Asia.
1- Introduce your company and explain more about INTEX South Asia, history , last edition statistics and success story.
We have a strong reputation and close connection with leading Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Trade Associations, Export Promotion bodies, etc. across South Asia. We have vast experience working with international trade bodies such as Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF), China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) to name a few.
We launched Intex South Asia in 2015 in Sri Lanka. Today, Intex South Asia has grown to become the most successful and established international textiles sourcing show of South Asia. It is considered as the annual industry event for the textiles and apparel industry of Sri Lanka. Over the last six years, Intex South Asia has successfully connected over 1,000 global textile suppliers with 10,000+ leading buyers from 30 countries and regions. The show has made a mark in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
2- Could you please tell us how the textile industry situation in your region now is?
The COVID-19 lockdown has severely damaged this sector, halting operations for nearly two months. Now, as thousands of textile factories across the country try to limp back to normalcy, stakeholders feel more vulnerable than ever before, with many sitting on ‘dead stock’— shipments that could not be dispatched due to the pandemic and have lost their market value since textiles and apparels are season-dependent industries.
Due to the pandemic, businesses and supply chains are witnessing a drastic shift from traditional products to new ones such as PPEs, N-95 masks, technical textiles, synthetic material, etc. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the PPE requirement in India was approximately 50,000 [units] per year. However, since the outbreak, India has become self-reliant in these segments with production capacity of PPE coveralls reaching 450,000 [units] per day, from zero production capacity.
Low-end goods, essential goods and value-for-money goods in the textile sector are moving well in the COVID-19 situation but fashionable apparels that depended on showrooms are yet to make a recovery according to the Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF). They further added that the export orders are on a medium performance-level now but the order-enquiry for the next quarter is good.
3- What are the dates for the next event?
We have rescheduled our exhibition dates to –
Intex South Asia (Sri Lanka Edition) – 7-9 July 2021. BMICH, Colombo
Intex South Asia (India Edition) – 9-11 December 2021, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
4、How has the pandemic had impact on the textile exhibitions business?
Like most of the developed and emerging economies, India is also severely hit by the pandemic. India has the third-highest number of confirmed cases, behind the U.S.’s close to 3.5 million and Brazil’s 1.97 million cases. The Indian exhibition industry has been hit really hard like other countries in USA, Europe, Australia and Hong Kong. It has suffered a loss of $ 600 million as per recent report since most of the organised events either got postponed or cancelled. The situation remains grim as of now but we foresee revival in the last quarter of 2020 or 1st quarter of 2021.
5、Is there any policy issued by local government or associations that may help the industry recover?
The MSME package from the Government has increased liquidity and provided a brief respite. However, the textile industry has pitched for a one-time loan restructuring, citing a 25-50% drop in overall demand in FY21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has written to the Reserve Bank of India saying 25% of the textile mills and garment units might witness permanent closure in the current situation hence the application for loan restructuring. In terms of promoting manufacturing, the Government is proposing setting up 10 mega integrated textiles region and apparel parks all over the country, on over 1,000 acres of land. These parks will have world class infrastructure and fibre-to-fabric-to-ICD for clearance. They will be a one-stop investment destination for FDI, and ideally, will be situated near ports with connectivity and links.
6- After many exhibitions cancelled or postpone, many web sites and companies start to organize VIRTUAL exhibitions. What do you think about it ? is it a real solution? How do you evaluate?
Virtual Exhibitions have positives such as being time-saving and long-lasting. You also save a lot of money and a virtual system makes it easier to track lead generation and others. At the same time, there are a few drawbacks in that there is no tactile interaction. Beyond the value of seeing and feeling product at booths, face-to-face meetings have long been seen as critical to building trust which is difficult on virtual platforms. While face to face meeting formats is increasing, physical interaction and reading of body language is not possible thus creating a trust deficit.
The most critical component in any exhibition is an experience – and this will be the single most important factor when producing successful virtual conferences. Ensuring the audience feels engaged and enriched by the experience is no longer an enhancing feature but a must.
The evaluation of a virtual exhibition can be made on the parameters of audience engagement, frequency and quality of virtual business meetings, and also of etiquette in terms of virtual interactions while speaking, calling, etc. In the current scenario, at least till a vaccine is found, there will be more virtual gatherings. Only in a post-vaccine world, can we look at physical gatherings again.
However, in the near future, we could also witness some truly amazing 3-D product presentations that could make up and replace physical exhibitions by engaging all five senses.
7、For global textile industry, how do you think is the best way to overcome the industrial crisis and better co-operating in this scenario?
In terms of global textile industry, the only way forward is to marry the respective strengths of each to create a stronger production and supply chain system. For example, Japanese industry has reached out to India for a tie-up using technology to maintain high-quality standards. This is entirely feasible and would lead to stronger business prospects between the two countries. This type of cooperation whether material, technological or business would definitely strengthen then global textile industry.
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