KARACHI: Cheap, mass-produced Chinese products including fabric, toys and watches have taken up a major market share in Pakistan.

While the country aims to generate more business activities and make new inroads for Chinese goods especially automobiles under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), manufacturers are feeling the pinch of the onslaught.

Lower prices of Chinese products give them an edge, traders interviewed by Dawn said.

Chinese products available here are inferior to products from the same source landing in Europe and other parts of the world, traders said.

“Arrival of goods is based on the Pakistani consumers’ behavior and spending capacity,” they claimed.

Traders said consumers know that Chinese goods are not durable but still it serves the purpose of covering family demands within their budget.

President Saddar Cooperative Market Society Shaikh Mohammad Feroz said Chinese cloth (100pc polyester) being used for shalwar kameez now holds 30pc market share. It was 10pc three years back, he added.

However, manufacturers of shalwar kameez in Cooperative Market still use local fabric, a blend of 65pc cotton and 35pc polyester, up to 70%, made in Faisalabad.

Mr Feroz said coloured kurtas are mainly made with Chinese cloth which is sold with white shalwars made of local cloth.

“Chinese clothes are 30-40pc cheaper compared to local ones,” he said.

Chinese clothing material (100pc polyester) is heavily used in making dress shirts and now occupies 70pc market share, Mr Feroz said. He said the departmental stores were giving the shopkeepers of Saddar Cooperative Market a tough time. “These stores are eroding our market share,” he said.

Chairman Traders Association of Marriot Road Mohammad Ahmed Shamsi said China has captured toys market with 90pc market share. Toys worth Rs700-800 million arrive in Karachi alone every year, he said.

In artificial jewellery, China enjoys more than 50pc market share. Indian jewellery holds 30pc of the market share while only 20pc belongs to local producers.

In small children shoes, China has 90pc market share, followed by 80pc in children’s readymade garments. Chinese watches dominate the market, he added.

Thriving imports from China are ballooning country’s trade deficit as imports are rising and exports are falling. “All the above mentioned items are arriving through legal channels,” he claimed.

President Jama Mall opposite Jama Cloth Market and general secretary Alliance of Arambagh Market, Dilshad Bukhari endorsed the view expressed by others.

He said the rising market share of Chinese goods is a threat to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Big manufacturers are surviving as they export, he added.

Member of Saddar Alliance of Market Association Babar Shahzad said China basically rules in children garments and shoes but in men’s wear, our local industry is competing.

He agreed that fabrics for shalwar kameez and shirts are arriving from China in larger quantities.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017

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