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Japanese sportswear brand Asics eyes local sourcing in India

As a means to apply for FDI and benefit from lower duties, Japanese sportswear brand Asics is in plans for local sourcing in India. Considering that its competitors like Nike and Puma have already got FDI clearance to start their own stores, Asics has to wait till it completes the 30 per cent local sourcing norm before it can get away from the franchise model.

Unlike its peers that are looking at manufacturing ‘Make in India’ products, Asics is still an imported footwear brand although it has started some amount of local production for apparel recently. Currently, Asics imports its footwear primarily from China and Indonesia much like other international brands including Clarks and Skechers, despite having Indian partners for their ventures.

While both Clarks and Sketchers have forged JVs with Future Group, Asics had decided to have a distribution pact with Reliance Retail which ended in 2015. The UK-based footwear major Pavers England was the first footwear company to get 100 per cent FDI and was the initial player to utilise the single brand FDI opportunity.

In India, Asics is now positioning itself from a sportswear to a lifestyle brand. Currently, Asics has 14 mono brand stores and expects to add another 12 such stores this year. It has also been spending on events like the Mumbai Marathon by becoming the official sponsors for three years to build its brand in the country. Asics, which has its headquarters in Kobe in Japan, has its biggest markets in the US and Europe and considers Japan as its second largest market.