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November 25, 2007

Why Ramzan is crucial for Carrom Board exports

Business Today has an off-beat article on the business of exporting carrom boards.
This unmatched frenzy at Meerut, a sports goods manufacturing hub of India, is triggered by the preparations for the Holy month of Ramzan in the Gulf countries. Sales of carrom boards in countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain increase by almost 50 per cent in the month of Ramzan, the fasting period that culminates in Id-Ul-Fitr, the biggest festival for Muslims. “During this period, the timing of the offices changes in the Gulf countries. People work from 9 in the evening till 4:30 in the morning and keep their shops closed during the daytime. Since playing cards is considered haram (profane), people prefer to play carrom that is considered a great leisure activity for the entire family,” says Anil Mahajan, Director, Himco International, an export unit based in Meerut.

Anil Mahajan is one of the 300-odd manufacturers of carrom boards, bulk of whose business happens two months preceding Ramzan. For the minuscule Rs 30-crore industry, three-fourths of the business is generated by the Gulf countries. “While carrom boards are exported all through the year, the order books swell in the month preceding Ramzan when bulk orders from the Gulf countries start coming. All the orders are dispatched 15 days prior to Ramzan,” he adds.

Traditionally as well, Arab countries account for a large chunk of the total carrom board exports from India. Says Kuldip Mahajan, Proprietor, Hind Sports, a manufacturer with more than five decades of experience in carrom board making: “This is both because of the huge numbers of expatriates from South Asia diaspora such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka there, and also because of the increasing local market for the product.” Mahajan exported over 6,000 units of carrom boards before Ramzan this year as against an average of 4,000 units in the rest of the months.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.