Estimates by the EPCH indicate that handicraft exports from India to China grew from INR470 million in 2008-09 to INR730 million in 2009-10. They further went up to INR5 billion in the year 2010-11.
Hand-painted textiles, woollen goods, and shawls are the items of handicrafts which have registered the highest growth in exports.
Rakesh Kumar, Director of EPCH, states that Indian handicrafts exports to China have the potential to grow further, significantly. This is largely because of Chinese artisans majorly switching over to machine-made products from hand-crafted ones.
“We had earlier participated in the World Expo in Shanghai, where we noticed that there is a lot of interest from the Chinese for Indian handicrafts,” Kumar states.
Kumar states that the EPCH has plans to explore the Chinese market further, through participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.
“We plan to participate in major trade shows in Shanghai and other places this year, as it would enable us to directly interact with the buyers and importers and plan things in a better and bigger way. We want to get more involved in it and invite participation from manufacturers and exporters of handicrafts. Since we are about to participate in the fair, its effect will be visible in 2013-14.”
The US and Europe have been major markets for handicrafts from India so far, but demand from these markets has been declining on account of the economic slowdown. EPCH is currently exploring other markets.
“Besides China, we see strong demand for Indian handicrafts in South America, particularly countries like Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, etc.,” states Kumar.