The Indonesian leather and footwear expo

6 October 2017

The 2017 edition of the Indonesian international exhibition on leather and footwear products, machinery and manufacturing technology, known as Indo Leather & Footwear Expo (ILF), took place at the JIExpo Kemayoran centre on 18–20 May. Leather International reports from a steamy Jakarta.

ILF, supported by the Ministries of Trade, and of cooperatives and SMEs of the Republic of Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian Footwear Association (APRISINDO) and the Indonesian Tanners’ Association (APKI), among others, shared the expansive exhibition hall with The World of Digital Print. While this diluted the impact of the leather offering somewhat, there were still enough exhibitors and visitors to make it feel busy.

Featuring semi-finished and finished leather, exotics, components and accessories, and machinery for tanning and footwear, ILF was in a position to seize on the current trend of leather production moving from China as labour costs rise there. Yet, the scope and ambition of the fair, catering to a broad (some would say too broad) range of the leather value chain, left some exhibitors wanting while others declared a successful three days.

Mastrotto Indonesia, which has been established in this region since 2005, sees this as an accelerator for furniture and automotive opportunities. It gets crust from Brazil to sell on, predominately to China and Malaysia, according to their area sales manager Hany (Indonesians often go by only one name).

“All the finishing is done here with the chemicals coming from Italy,” he said. The firm is confident in its growth strategy, despite global challenges, especially in Brazil and China, and were happy with the turnout.

However, Italy’s Italprogetti, a couple of stands away, had a different experience. It hadn’t exhibited here for about three years and decided to come back, buoyed by its 40th year anniversary. Asia sales manager Ricardo Fabiani wasn’t optimistic it would return for 2018, however. Drum technology and water treatment are Italprogetti’s strong suits, yet the tanneries in Indonesia are quite small and very isolated. There’s no designated tannery cluster and no CETP either, and the overall leather industry didn’t appear to be picking up. Shoe production was booming, he said, but the amount of leather in those shoes was diminishing.

Challenges ahead

On the subject of footwear, Federica Tempestini from shoe and leather products company Cuoificio La Querce had expected the show to yield some success, but it turned out that few local firms could produce leather-soled shoes of the kind that the company produces for brands like Oliver Sweeney, since most of the shoes produced in Indonesia were rubber or synthetic.

Despite some expectations not being met, the fair, according to organisers, outperformed last year’s edition, with more than 154 exhibitors, 11 countries represented and nearly 10,000 visitors. The collective Indonesian footwear, leather and clothing industries were strategic sectors, as well as priorities to be developed by the government, since they significantly contributed to the national economy. This was reflected in GDP, which rose from $2.4 billion in 2015 to $2.6 billion in 2016.

“It means that this industry contributes about 0.28% to the state revenue,” commented director general of small and medium industry Kemenerin Gati Wibawanigsih.

Gati also asserted that, for the footwear industry sector, Indonesia ranked fifth in the world as exporters after China, India, Vietnam and Brazil. The market share on a global scale reached 4.4% and trade map data showed positive export growth from $4.85 billion in 2015, up 3.3%, to $5.01 billion in 2016. “Increased exports of footwear from Indonesia exceed the world’s export growth of only 0.19%,” he added.

Overall, the domestic tannery industry still faced immense challenges, due to a lack of raw materials, and the means by which to process them. As a result, there was a high dependence on imported raw materials, auxiliary materials and accessories, and the dollar exchange rate was very influential on the structure of footwear production costs.

Despite mixed experiences, the expo was considered a success.

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