China's Wenzhou looks to establish footwear park in UP

Wenzhou, an autonomous Chinese municipality near the East China Sea, is keen to set up a leather and footwear components park in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

A port and industrial city in China's Zhejiang province, Wenzhou is known for its industrial clusters and parks.

"Wenzhou wishes to establish a footwear components park in Central UP. The exact location is yet to be explored but it could possibly be located in Lucknow, Unnao or Hardoi districts," Council for Leather Exports (CLE) regional chairman and leather goods manufacturer Javed Iqbal told Business Standard.

Wenzhou's officials have invited the UP chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar to participate in the ‘China-India (Wenzhou) Dialogue on Leather Industry Capacity Cooperation’ to explore business ties between the two countries.

Apart from the chief secretary, UP Principal Secretary (industrial and infrastructure development) Alok Sinha and two footwear and leather industrialists, including Iqbal, have been invited to the conference, which is scheduled on June 19 in Wenzhou.

Iqbal said that the seminar would present an excellent opportunity for Indian companies, including from Kanpur, to showcase investment opportunities in UP, especially in footwear manufacturing and components technology.

"In the backdrop of the constraints on supply of rawhide in UP following the closure of unregistered slaughter houses in UP, the proposed park has the potential to help the beleaguered leather goods manufacturers in Kanpur and neighbouring districts seek other avenues to stay afloat," he said, adding that he would be travelling to China for the conference.

Wenzhou ranks among China's most progressive municipalities to open up to the outside world in search of business ties and two-way investments. It supports a thriving industrial atmosphere spanning different segments and has several industrial clusters, including leather, shoes, garment, electrical equipment, automobiles, auto ancillaries etc.

India is Wenzhou's fifth-largest export market for textiles, apparels, leather goods etc.

Earlier on April 24, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) had also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Wenzhou for furthering Sino-Indian economic, cultural ties, tourism and educational ties.

A four-member Chinese delegation was led by the deputy of Wenzhou Commerce Bureau, Ye Chaoyang, who visited LMC to sign the MoU proclaiming Lucknow and Wenzhou as sister cities.

During his visit, Chaoyang had observed that Lucknow was the second largest city in North India after Delhi and famous for leather and footwear manufacturing. He had exuded confidence that given their economic compatibility, the two regions had a lot of potential for mutual benefits. "Many Wenzhou companies are keen to invest here. Hopefully, the MoU would result in the proliferation of bilateral economic and trade activities."

The Chinese team had also invited LMC officials and entrepreneurs to visit Wenzhou and explore trade opportunities. LMC had also said that the MoU would encourage Chinese companies to invest in the region.

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