The small city of Morbi in Gujarat is the world’s second-largest, and India’s largest, ceramics cluster. A report on the vibrant and growing industry
THE ceramic industry in Morbi, a small city in Gujarat, which contributes around 90% to India’s ceramic production, has decided to adopt ‘One Cluster, One Brand’ concept to increase exports.
The Morbi Ceramic Association recently organised one of the world’s biggest finished products expo in Gandhinagar; it received more than 2,500 international visitors from 84 countries.
Morbi has emerged as India’s biggest and the world’s second largest ceramic cluster in the last two decades. It is home to over 750 ceramic units, which produce 1,820 million square meters of wall, floor and vitrified tiles and sanitaryware products.
The city is providing employment to the over 450,000 people and is likely to generate about 40,000 new job in 2018.
“The Morbi ceramic industry has been providing quality products at cheaper rates than China,” says K G Kundariya, president, Morbi Ceramic Association. “Last year, the 750 units in Morbi registered a turnover of Rs285 billion, including Rs62 billion in exports. We aim to export products worth Rs90 billion this fiscal.”
To attract more business and global customers, the association organised the second edition of Vibrant Ceramics Expo & Summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, between November 16 and 19. More than 275 companies participated in the expo spread over 50,000 sq m.
“The export of ceramic products from Morbi has registered an annual growth of 25%-30% over the past few years,” points out Kundariya. “And to further strengthen our position in the international market, we are working on the ‘One Cluster, One Brand’ concept. We plan to create a common brand exclusively for exports to make international buyers aware about the strength of Morbi and to give them a confidence in our brand.”
Currently, about 400 units are exporting to various countries. Morbi adopts new technology rapidly, helping it to produce newer products at cheaper rates with superior quality. For the single brand formula for exports, the association has talked with ceramic players and about 200 companies in Morbi have already shown interest in building a single brand for exports.
Nilesh Jetpariya president, Vibrant Ceramics Expo, points out that over the last few years ceramic players have made several changes in their processes and adopted new technologies to improve quality and to grab export opportunities.
This has opened the export market for India in a big way with exports rising to over Rs 60 billion from just Rs20 billion over the past four years. “GST had affected exports, but now it is back on track and we are targeting Rs100 billion exports from Morbi this fiscal,” he adds.
As the industry is growing within India and internationally, Morbi saw nearly 100 new units coming up this year with total investment of about Rs 70 billion. Most of them are the export-oriented units.
Till three years ago, Morbi used to export ceramics to the Gulf and African countries. But due to aggressive marketing and improvement in quality and competitive rates, demand from Europe, the US, Australia and Brazil is increasing.
According to Kundariya, Morbi will soon become the world’s biggest producer of ‘thin tiles.’ More than 15 companies are setting up units to produce such new products with investments of more than Rs30 billion.
In 2018, at least 40 new units will start production in Morbi. Between 2006 and 2013, world tiles production grew by 6.3% annually, while India registered 12% annual growth in the same period. Morbi ceramic industry experts believe that by 2024, India can surpass China and become the world’s biggest ceramic producer.