India may become the new go-to nation for technical textile production as performance fabrics grow in popularity.
At Techtextil India, a trade show held in Mumbai earlier this month showcasing technical textile and nonwoven innovations, industry leaders expressed expectations for growth in specialized textiles.
Raj Manek, managing director of Messe Frankfurt Trade Fairs India–who organized Techtextil–said, “Technical textile is an important part of the overall textile sector in India. Not only has it grown at an annual rate of 11 percent during 2006-11, but is also estimated to expand at a rate of 20 percent to reach $36 billion by 2016-17,” according to India’s Economic Times.
Techtextil set new records for participation this year, proving that the demand for smart textiles has increased and business are seeking more outlets for production. Business visitors to the event increased by 46 percent and total exhibiting companies increased 50 percent over the previous show in 2011.
At the inauguration of the regional office of the Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA) back in April, Ministry of Textile joint secretary, Sujit Gulati said that while technical textiles account for 60 percent of the global textile industry, they only accounted for 9-10 percent in India.
But, ITTA says technical textiles is one of the fastest growing segments of the Indian economy, noting that the growth is due to entrepreneurial ingenuity and government incentives for investment in the sector.
Technical textiles are manufactured for function over fashion for things like agro textiles and protective clothing. The current size of the technical fabric market in India is estimated at $17 billion. Given India’s vast production potential, low costs, and versatility in the market, Manek said he sees the country being the next hub for manufacturing and consumption of the performance products.