BENGALURU: India’s biggest toy manufacturing cluster is coming up near Koppal in North Karnataka, looking to tap a huge export market, exploiting the ongoing US-China trade war. The facility, spread across 255 acres in a Banapura village near Koppal, 350 km from Bengaluru, will be the first of its kind in India, housing toy manufacturers from India and abroad. The project will put the district, already known for “Kinhal” toys and traditional wooden craft, on the national map.
“We are working with Aequs Aerospace, a global aerospace and defence manufacturing firm, to set up the facility which will be operational in a year. The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will spur the economic activities in the region,” Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar told TNIE.
An official from the Industries Department said land has been acquired for the SEZ. Toy manufacturing firms from India and abroad will enter into joint ventures with Aequs Aerospace to set up their manufacturing units.
“A Chinese firm has already come forward to invest Rs 1,500 crore. The SEZ notification will be issued by the Central government any time now, following which construction work will start,” the official said.
Aequs Aerospace is venturing into toy manufacturing as there is no organized set-up in the country in this sector. “You name any kind of toy, over 80 per cent of sourcing is done from China. Now, players are looking at India as a favourite destination after China, which is also getting saturated,” said the company official. “There is a lot of support from the state government for the initiative and a full-fledged ecosystem will be developed by 2021,” he said, adding that as a proof of concept, Aequs already has a toy manufacturing facility at its Belagavi unit.
Many toy manufacturers from China and Vietnam are expected to set up their manufacturing plants at the Koppal SEZ. “We are targeting high-end electronic toys, which have movement through electronic operations. That is the future of toys,” the official said. Europe and US will be the major export markets for the companies at the SEZ. Initially, it is expected to generate employment for around 20,000 people, and once it is fully developed it is expected to provide employment to around one lakh people.
Other clusters being developed by the state government are textile manufacturing cluster in Ballari, mobile phone components manufacturing cluster in Chikkaballapura, LED lights manufacturing cluster in Chitradurga, agricultural implements manufacturing cluster in Bidar, tiles manufacturing cluster in Hassan, and printed circuit boards manufacturing cluster in Mysuru.
“The clusters set up by Karnataka Government will be enabled with world-class industrial infrastructure that includes plug & play facility, ready-built sheds and 24X7 power supply. With these clusters, the state government will expand its industrial development footprint and contribute substantially to the country’s economic growth,” said Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department.