Tokyo -- Polyurethane, in footwear in particular, is proving an industry driver in India because of the growth of its middle class, according to a presentation by the secretary of the Indian Polyurethane Association, Murali Mohan.
Speaking at the International PU forum in Tokyo in mid-May 2015, Mohan told delegates that, after bedding, the second biggest application area for polyurethane within the country is the footwear segment.
Mohan said: “With a huge population and increasing disposable income available, the upwardly mobile segment have all gone for footwear for every occasion – be it formal wear, leisure wear or sportswear.”
Rohit Relan, of the Relan Group of Industries, in his presentation to the forum added that in 2014, just 5% of India’s population were in the middle class but he said: “By 2025, this percentage will have increased to 41% of the population.
Relan added: "We need more production facilities to keep up with demand." Relan, whose firm Bharat Seats makes seating as part of a jv with Suzuki supplying full seating systems to Maruti Suzuki, said "growth is stable" with "prospects for more growth high."
Italian specialty checmical firm Kezal is seizing the opportunity. The company is opening its third production plant and has chosen India as the location, as the country is one of its main markets.
Kezal produces PU for different industrial applications, such as furniture, automotive and footwear – the latter of which is a strong market, according to Marco Mulas, Kezal export manager.
Mulas told UTECH-polyurethane.com, the company is “the biggest supplier of eco-friendly products for PU” in India.
For more footwear information see the feature appearing in the June/July 2015 issue of Urethanes Technology International.
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