Indian human hair exports face tough competition from Chinese market

India’s human hair exports’ market was around Rs 4,500 crore before two years. However, it declined to $1000 crore mainly due to strong competition from China, which is offering exports at cheaper prices.

By Sai Nikesh D

Owing to already-existing demand overseas, in the current year since January, around 15 tonnes of human hair has been exported to Rangoon, Myanmar from Tiruchi International Airport (TIA), sources from cargo department of TIA said on  July 29, 2015.

Around 2-3 consignments, each containing 1000 kg of human hair is reaching the airport every month, mostly from the regions like Bangalore, Chennai, among others, added the sources.

“Rangoon, Myanmar account to 90% share of India’s human hair exports,” said one of the key sources from Air Asia Airlines, one of the leading carriers of Indian human hair exports, besides Malaysian Airlines. However, according to V Karthi, Secretary, Indian Human Hair Exporters Association, Indian human hair exports’ market has been declining gradually since the last two years.

He said, “India’s human hair exports’ market was around Rs 4,500 crore before two years. However, it declined to $1000 crore and remains at Rs 2000 crore on an average.” The main reason behind decline is the growing competition from China, which accounts for Rs 15000 crore exports’ market annually and also offering exports at cheaper prices than that of India.

While $100/kg of human hair is the export price of China, $150/kg is the export price in India, he added, raising concerns over the decline. China is buying around 20 tonnes of hair scrap per month at a price of Rs 3000/kg from Indian market and is selling products made out of that scrap using toxic chemicals that can cause cancer, to its overseas export destinations, he noted, adding, “India is exporting pure and original hair to its overseas customers.”

When asked, ‘what sort of support is the Association expecting from the government on behalf of exporters,’ he said, “Government is currently offering 2.5% incentives, however, it has to work on decreasing customs duty and should also provide regular visas to Indian exporters, thus, boosting opportunities for Indian exporters in reaching out to their overseas customers.”

For example, if total price of consignment to be exported is $100/kg, we are being asked to pay half of that amount as an export duty, he noted and urged the government to decrease export duty in order to benefit the industry.

Two types of hair come from Indian market. One is the Remy hair (highest grade of human hair, a preferred choice for hairpieces and wigs) and the other is non-Remy hair, which is a household waste collected by local workers, who sell it to dealers in hair, who in turn sell it to hair export firms.

Indian raw human hair exporters mostly cater to the beauty market in Western world.

This article was published in The Dollar Business on July 29, 2015

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