Indian Bull In Bone-china Shop

Jaipur, October 28: | Updated: Oct 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
Jaipurs Rs 50 crore ceramic industry is on its way to taking on China which is emerging a strong competitor in the global bone-china market.

Having established itself as one of the largest bone-china producers, after vanquishing the erstwhile Stoke-on-Trent of the UK, Jaipurs ceramic export sector is gearing itself to battle Chinas two strongest assets labour and costs. China is emerging as our main competitor as in most of the cases in the world market, said Mr Swapan Guha, president of Jaipur Ceramics which exports almost 50% of its produce at Rs 6 crore per annum. Mr Guha added that his company planned to double production by next year.

In ceramic exports, China has an upper hand vis a vis India in terms of cost and marketing. Where they find it possible to sell their products at 40-50 cents a piece, Indian products are priced exactly double this amount. Unlike our products, Chinese products are not labour intensive, said Mr Guha. This leaves a lot of room for Indian exporters to enhance quality, he said adding, Chinese bone-china has been found to have high lead and cadmium impurities which are hazardous to health.

To cut down the cost of production, Jaipurs ceramic exporters have sought access to natural gas from the HBJ pipeline which runs through Rajasthan. It is ironical that we are being deprived of this resource even though it is closest to us, sources said.

This would substantially reduce our cost of production unlike the current use of C9 fuel a variety of high speed diesel, said Mr Guha. The industry has to spend a high Rs 15 per kg for C9 fuel while the natural gas would cost only Rs 5 per kg if the request for its use is granted. Sources from the industry were sure that ceramic exports from India would triple once the switch was made to natural gas fuel.