China blow for Agra glass units

Firozabad town, located about 50 km away from Agra, is world-renowned for its glass industry, especially glass bangles and precious lead-crystal chandeliers that used to be exported all over the world, especially Europe.

But lately, chandelier-manufacturing units of this glass town have backtracked from being manufacturers to resellers.

It could be the worst nightmare for any industry when it is forced to sell the products of its competitor. This nightmare has come true for the glass industry of Firozabad, where most of the reputed lead crystal manufacturers have shut down shop in search of new avenues of business, faced by the cheap glassware being imported from China by some importers of this town.

Aakarshan Enterprises (a leading exporting firm) Managing Director Chakresh Jain said currently, the market of Firozabad was flooded with Chinese glassware, from crockery and wine glasses to cheap chandeliers, which had made survival very difficult for Firozabad glass units and, as a result, a number of industrial units manufacturing lead crystal chandeliers, which used to be this town’s specialty, had taken to manufacturing stuff that was still not being manufactured in China.

He said while a glass chandelier bought from Belgium cost around Rs 3-4 lakh, the same could be reproduced in Firozabad at half the price but the chandeliers that were arriving in the containers imported from

China products were still cheaper and a comparable chandelier could cost as low as Rs 25-30,000. This had made the manufacturing of chandeliers less cost-effective for the Firozabad industrialists and most of the glass stockists had begun stocking Chinese chandeliers, foregoing the locally manufactured stuff.

According to Jain, at present, most of the glass units in Firozabad had become restricted to manufacturing bangles, glass beads, lighting fixtures, etc. for which, the Chinese technology was still lagging behind.

But a silver lining has begun to show in this dark cloud now with the Uttar Pradesh government planning to develop a model township, demonstrating the glass manufacturing skills of the Firozabad artisans.

The state government officials termed this project as a way to promote the glass industry of Firozabad and to display it to the entire world, attracting foreign tourists to this city, in return.

According to the state tourist department sources, codenamed – Crystal City, the project is targeted towards restructuring the glass manufacturing industry of Firozabad and bringing this town on the world map as one of the principal glass manufacturing centers on this globe, in order to compete with the influx of the Chinese Crystals.

600450 China blow for Agra glass units
Date: 1 February 2006

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