Brazil: Export of footwear to China in between January and April represents 73 pct of 2007 sales

15 May 2008

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 15 May – Brazil exported 355,183 pairs of shoes to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau in the first four months of 2008, which was equivalent to 73 percent of total sales to those regions in the whole of 2007, according to figures from the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association(Abicalçados).

Brazilian sales to China totalled US$5.72 million in the first four months of 2008.

In 2007, Brazil exported 486,979 pairs of shoes to mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong with a value of US$8.29 million.

In the first four months of the year, overall exports from the Brazilian footwear industry totalled US$646 million, representing 67 million pairs of shoes.

“For 25 years, Brazilian exports were focused on the United States, but Brazilian companies have lost share because Chinese companies have started exporting at a lower price,” said Brazilian consultant Márcia Fraga.

The consultant has returned to Brazil to support Brazilian companies looking to operate in China, after spending 9 years in Donguang, in Guangdong province, where there is a large community of footwear industry workers from southern Brazil.

Fraga told Macauhub that, after export levels fell in the 1990s, and finding that they couldn’t compete with Chinese production costs, some Brazilian footwear business owners decided to set up in China and are now responsible for production of 60 percent of all the shoes manufactured in the world.

“Brazil has always been very string in fashion and leather footwear. We are not going to compete with China. We are not going to export cheap shoes to China. We are going to export expensive shoes,” Fraga said, who sees great potential for the Brazilian footwear industry in the growing Chinese middle class living in large cities.

Na example of a Brazilian brand that is investing in the luxury Chinese consumer is Arezzo, which Thursday is due to launch a new expansion project by opening in Shanghai the first of 12 stores it plans to open all over China in 2008.

According to a company statement, Arezzo, in partnership with Hong Kong company Prime Success, wants to have 207 stores in China by 2016, in which it will sell shoes costing between US$150 and US$240, as well as handbags and other accessories.

Prime Success, which has stores in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan, is the exclusive distributor of Adidas in China and manufactures shoes for dozens of international retailers, such as US companies Wal-Mart and JC Penney. (macauhub)