GCC’s $6bn leather industry has great growth potential
24 Jul 2017 - 0:32
With the Middle East growing in prominence as a global leather industry hot spot, it was not surprising that ‘Leatherworld Middle East’ has tasted considerable success in its first two editions in the region.
According to analysts, the leather industry in the GCC was worth as much as $6bn, and the region is also upscaling as a leather manufacturing hub. Latest reports indicate that $1.9bn worth of dressed leather, luggage, handbags, saddlery, harnesses and footwear were produced in the Gulf region in 2014, with Saudi Arabia ($1.1bn), the UAE ($468m), the region’s big two leather producers.
Leatherworld Middle East 2017, meanwhile outdid its successful regional debut last year by featuring 65 exhibitors from 16 countries and attracting 2,221 trade buyers from 64 countries. A raft of global and local players alike were out in full force at Leatherworld Middle East 2017, where they displayed their wares to thousands of trade buyers, from exotic Indonesian reptile skins, luxury fashion accessories, or UAE-produced camel leather goods from Founding Sponsor Al Khaznah.
“Leatherworld Middle East was created to serve as a dedicated trade and business development event for an industry that is not only fast expanding but also lacked an industry-wide common platform,” said Ahmed Pauwels (pictured), CEO of organisers, Messe Frankfurt Middle East. “Over the past three years of the show’s existence, it Gulhas succeeded in attracting widespread support and interest from both leading regional and international players looking to make further headway into regional markets,” he added.
Mohammed Ghanem Al Mansoori, General Manager at Al Khaznah Tannery, said: “Al Khaznah is a shining star in the Middle East leather industry as it manufactures natural skins, chrome-free and eco-friendly leather. Hides are superior to other leathers in terms of strength, durability and softness.
“We offer raw leather to manufacturers of shoes, furniture, aircraft, yachts, and even clothing. We’re dealing with the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation via a big project to manufacture shoes for school students, serving nearly 90,000 students across the country.
“Our daily production is about two thousand pieces, and the annual production is one and a half million feet annually. We export to India for example and we focus on East Asia, China, Europe. We’re keen to participate in international exhibitions as they attract manufacturers and suppliers,” added Al Mansoori.
Leatherworld Middle East 2017 also featured the Fashion Avenue, where the UAE’s most talented designers at ESMOD Dubai presented their creative flair with an inspiring array of leather garments, bags, and accessories.
Thomas Perreaux, Project Manager at ESMOD Dubai, said: “We’re very happy to have collaborated with Leatherworld. This is a very interesting project for our students and the creations in leather that they displayed at the show. It helped our students get the right exposure and knowledge of the industry. It also helps to educate them on leather more in depth. The exhibition overall has been a great platform for us and we look forward to its upcoming editions.”