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4 Indian denim mills strategically ready to enter Vietnam

by Apparel Resources

13-July-2018  |  10 mins read

Denim Jeans
Image Courtesy: pinterest.com

Vietnam, world’s third largest apparel exporting country, targeting to achieve US $ 50 billion by 2020 and currently at US $ 31 billion, is a growing opportunity for Indian denim mills, yet many issues still pose a challenge.

Language, logistics, and duty for domestic consumption, are established challenges for Indian mills when they explore Vietnam, and it is no different for denim mills. However, after their consistent efforts in recent years, some of them are ready to take-off in a big way.

Some Indian mills have explored Vietnam and few of them have not only succeeded, but have also continuously registered growth, making their presence in the country. And it seems natural as Vietnam’s denim export to the US has grown nearly 35 per cent in 3 years. The recently signed CPTPP and expected FTA with EU, further add a bright prospect to the growth of exports from this country. Moving on, the increasing complications of sourcing from China, particularly after the ongoing trade war with US, goes in India’s favour.

Sandeep Agarwal, Founder, Denimsandjeans.com, who is connecting denim mills from across the globe with Vietnam through his event, also feels that language is not a problem and that it is easy to find good professionals in Vietnam who can work for Indian companies, they just need to use them correctly and that will open all the channels. The logistics issue he adds needs to be tackled through collective approach or in support with trade associations.

“Traditional ways of working will not work here in Vietnam. So, new and collective efforts will open the gate and clients will have more confidence in Indian companies. China is now getting out of the race slowly and buyers are looking for a replacement; so, this is the best time for Indian companies to explore Vietnam,” concludes Sandeep.

denim mills
Sandeep Agarwal, Founder, denimsandjeans.com

Team Apparel Resources which was recently at the denimsandjeans event in Vietnam explored how these 4 Indian denim mills are increasing their exports into this beautiful country.

KG Denim, Coimbatore: Having deep roots in Vietnam has been successful in connecting with some domestic brands and getting reasonable volume orders from them. Though compared to exporters, domestic brands (catering mainly to ladies and kids) have small orders and companies working with local brands/labels have to pay duty (nearly 18 per cent), yet the company is satisfied to work with them as they are growing. Similarly, their order size is also increasing. It is comparatively easy to work with local brands as they have enough lead time to absorb the shipping time, when compared to exporters.

Mohanraj, AGM Exports shares, “Regarding supply to the Vietnamese exporters, only nominated programmes by the brand can do well, otherwise enquiry-based orders don’t have much scope.” The company is trying to get the nomination to tap exporters, especially for US market. It will take time but will definitely take place. Some international brands are entering Vietnam. Therefore, nomination seems important for the company. Recycled polyester-based denim and recycled Tencel are two of the interesting offerings by the company.

denim mills
(L-R): Vinsline, Manager- Operations, Tap International Company; Mohan Raj, AGM- Exports, KG Denim; and Abhi (Asst. Manager – Marketing), Tap International Company Limited

KG Fabriks Limited, Coimbatore has been putting efforts into this market for the last 4 years and has recently succeeded in getting some volume business and new customers, that too from Hanoi. (Garment industry in Vietnam is majorly situated in HCM City and Hanoi). As of now, the company is working with selected 8 to 10 clients.

K.R. Thamarai Selvan, Assistant Manager Marketing, is of the opinion, “Good thing about Vietnam is the opportunity to get good volume/container orders. All Vietnamese are very well versed with Chinese mills but not with Indian Mills so we have the limitation of getting new contacts by participating at sourcing event, only.”

Expecting 30 to 40 per cent growth in orders from Vietnam, the company is as of now managing its logistics well, as most of the demand it gets is for regular products and there is a concerted effort to push for early confirmation of order.

KG Fabriks claims to use only 3 litres of water to produce one metre of denim fabric. Use of sulphur colour rather than reactive is another attraction of the company’s products.

denim mills
(L-R): K.R. Thamarai Selvan, Assistant Manager Marketing with S. Krishna Raja, Sr. Marketing Manager, KG Fabriks Limited

Anubha Industries (Pratibha Group) Surat, is pushing its offerings into this market for the last three years and is now geared up for good business. The company is in the process to start its office in Vietnam and is looking to hire local professionals.

Amit Desai, Sr. Manager – Export Marketing (Anubha Industries) shared, “We are continuously meeting with new buying houses, brands, and jeans manufacturers here and exchanging ideas in product requirement and our offerings. With our local office and Vietnamese professionals, we will definitely get a much better response as there is a lot of potential here and they are now seriously looking for Indian fabric.”

Amit feels that duty structure of Vietnam is a hinderance in importing Indian fabric. The company is discussing this issue with associations. Known for sustainable denim and the piece-dyed fabric, the company is GOTS, Oeko-Tex and OCS certified, producing 20 lakh metres of fabric per month.

denim mills
(L-R): Bhavesh Patel, Manager Marketing, Anubha Industries; Alok Kumar Trivedi, Country Manager, Gateway Next Ltd.; and Amit Desai, Sr. Manager – Export Marketing, Anubha Industries

Aarvee Denims & Exports, Ahmedabad too has been exploring this market with comparatively limited focus but is now geared up with full preparations. Recently participating for the first time at the denimsandjeans event, the company initiated its first ever big effort for Vietnam.

Pankaj V. Arora, VP – Marketing (Aarvee Denims) shared the reasons for larger focus on Vietnam now. “We were working with many brands of late through Bangladesh. Significantly, Bangladesh and Vietnam are working on a very similar model in terms of garment export. Vietnam is catching up with Bangladesh so we felt that it is high time for our company to be present effectively in Vietnam,” he reasoned.

Having expertise in cotton spandex with the lowest shrinkage, Aarvee Denims researched about Vietnam and realised that overall, there exists a stiff competition from China. Accordingly, it plans to encounter this challenge by focussing on company’s strength, which is 100 per cent cotton and cotton spandex base.

denim mills
Pankaj V. Arora, VP – Marketing, Aarvee Denims & Exports

“Compared to China, we have an edge in logistics in case of Bangladesh, yet China is doing very good business with Bangladesh, so similarly why can’t we do the same with Vietnam? We are building our base for handling the Vietnam market and I am sure that we will succeed,” says Pankaj.

The company will focus on such range of fabrics which can be delivered much faster and also can be produced in lesser lead time. “We have price advantage over China, so the customer will bear with us a little bit on logistic disadvantage, hence it seems to be a win-win situation for us as well as Vietnamese garment exporters,” adds Pankaj. As the company is working with some of the most-toughest countries of the world like Latin America, so language is not a big issue for them.