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Not all sellers wanted buyers

Networking overtook retail at Pragati Maidan during the 29th edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) that came to a close on Friday, reports Jatin Anand.

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2009 00:23 IST
Jatin Anand

Networking overtook retail at Pragati Maidan during the 29th edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) that came to a close on Friday.

The fair took a step beyond trade opportunities in exotic products that it offers visitors each year.

With many international merchants utilising the IITF to catch the Indian market's fancy, the annual event made a successful transition from the 'person-to-person' format, to becoming a platform for business to business (B2B) networking and brand building.

“We just wanted to perceive whether there was a market for our products here,” said Huzaifa Essabhai (26), a senior merchandiser for Karachi-based Gul Ahmed Textile Mills.

“Since we are firmly established back home, instead of just selling a few garments we thought it would be better to treat it as a stage to interact with international buyers, and expand our business beyond national borders,” he said.

This trend was most noticeable at the international pavilion what with various stalls representing Indonesia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Turkey, and first time participants like Cuba and Papua and New Guinea sporting the ‘Not for Sale’ and ‘Business Partners Only’ signs.

“Our products are comparatively more expensive than similar products in the Indian Market,” said Siriphoren (24), a marketing executive at the Kiwi and Kom Kom stall, dealing in cutlery back home in Thailand.

Explaining the reason behind the ‘Only Business Visitors’ sign, she said, “The idea was to ascertain which section of the Indian market to target. We are in a better position to do that now by analysing the segment(s) which the business visitors were from.”

First time international participants had no alternative but to wait and watch. “Since this is our first time here, the idea is to first spread awareness about our country and culture,” said Karo Rupa, first secretary of mission at the Papua & New Guinea embassy.

“Many representatives from India’s business community have shown interest in our products, and that has given us the confidence to plan a major retail-cum-investment attraction exercise next year,” he added.

Seems it was business in particular at this year’s Trade Fair.