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Marvel to market Showa gloves in India

Marvel to market Showa gloves in India

marvel1.jpgMarvel Gloves has been appointed as an Indian Agent for the entire range of industrial gloves of Showa Glove Co., Japan. A manufacturer of knitted gloves, and a key player in the field, Marvel Gloves was founded in 1980 with the establishment of a knitted gloves manufacturing facility at Ankleshwar in Gujarat. The representation of Showa Gloves in India came to Marvel in 2013, 16 years after Mr Farooq Abdullah, the Managing Partner of Marvel Gloves, approached Showa. The answer then was a polite “no”. Visits that followed did not yield a favourable outcome.

That was until 2012 when Marvel Gloves managed to get the Showa Glove Company’s distribution rights for India. During an interaction with IPF in Mumbai, Tang Chee Keong, Director and Chief Operating Officer, Showa Best Glove Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, averred that his colleague, Mr Soo Ka Ho, visited India for a discussion with potential candidates. Marvel Gloves bagged the opportunity to represent Showa Glove Co in India.

Showa turned its attention to Asia in 1995. Until then the business was directly handled out of Japan. Clients would deal directly with Showa. The company started market research to enter the South Asian market in 2002, especially China and India.
“Our gloves are used as tools in industries like the automotive industry, electrical and electronics and chemical and glass industries,” Mr Keong added. Drawing attention to Showa’s acquisition of US-based Best Glove Inc., in 2007, Mr Abdullah added, “Showa is a pioneer in gloves, and makes a large variety of gloves. Showa does not believe in imitating the products of its competitors.”

Sole agent of Showa Gloves in India, Marvel Gloves will be marketing three Showa products as of now – PVC, cut resistant, and cold and oil resistant gloves, to be precise. These three Showa products will complement the knitted gloves Marvel markets in India under its own brand. Having chosen Marvel, the company plans to sell 2 million Showa gloves this year. High value products they are, and their consumption is therefore expected to come from bigger industries – manufacturing industries like the ones mentioned above, as also oil and gas sector, and the fertilizer industries. Through Marvel, Showa is keen to leverage its relations with Japanese manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and others.

Established in 1954 in Japan, Showa has an annual production capacity of 180 million pair of gloves. Its manufacturing plant and R&D centre is located at Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. Apart from Japan, the company has production facilities in Perlis, Malaysia and Binh Duong, and Vietnam. Sales offices of the company are in Seattle in the USA, and Paris in France.

marvel2.jpgExcellent support from Showa is how Mr Abdullah expressed his association with the Japanese company. He added, “They are supporting us with technical catalogues and knowledge, which would help us to effectively promote Showa gloves in India.” Creating a market for 2 million pairs of gloves would take time to materialise. Marvel hopes to achieve it through advertising, industrial visits, and through distributors and retailers by conveying the virtues of Showa gloves to the target audience, demonstrating the benefits of using them.

Marvel Gloves will initially take up the development of the market for Showa gloves. The company is working towards an initial investment of Rs 2.5 crore towards the building of Showa product portfolio in India. “As the Showa brand develops we would also look at setting up a manufacturing facility in association with Showa in India.

The priority, as of now, is however to develop the brand and secure business enough to aid in undertaking activities like local manufacture, and export to markets like the Middle East countries”, he added.

A major task to ensure good market penetration for Showa gloves would to be bring about a change in the way industrial gloves, or gloves for that matter are perceived. Gloves in India are sold on price rather than for the safety they offer. Consumers in India are price conscious rather than how good gloves are as a safety apparatus. Showa gloves are value for money. Marvel Gloves would be marketing them as a production tool in keeping with the philosophy of Showa, that its gloves are a production tool. The good part is, Marvel has already sold 95,000 pairs of Showa gloves in India. It has received good enquires. Mr Abdullah concluded that his aim is to fulfil the need of the market.

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