Efforts on to market traditional Kashmir products globally through internet

Srinagar, Jan.2 : The business community in Kashmir is all set to create a popular international market for traditional products, as a youth creates a website using the online marketing tool to promote the arts and crafts of the state

The traditional art products of Kashmir including carpets, Pashmina shawls, wood carvings and different varieties of handwork embroidery are famous all over the world, due to the unique manufacturing and finest quality.

However, due to the lack of marketing skills at an international level, these brands tend to have only a limited popularity.

A youth, Mir Shariq Mushtaq, in collaboration with the department of industries at Pampore town, has created a website to popularise the traditional products.

"It is an initiative that's about how we can promote their brands and how we can promote the brand 'Kashmir' globally, as well as how we can localise it, using the online marketing tool," he said.

Internet and online retail sites have emerged as the great leveller. India has become the third-largest Internet market, based on the total number of users, and 60 percent of these come from smaller towns.

Deputy Director in the department of industries and commerce, A H Shah, promised to subsidise the initiative.

"I have already promised him and all his colleagues that we would love to subsidise this initiative officially, because if he is able to succeed in his initiative and succeed in promoting the local brands, that Kashmir brand as he says, the expenditure to be incurred on this, we would be able to subsidise a substantial part of it," said Shah.

According to a new report by a Consulting Group, online retail in India could be a $84-billion industry by 2016 -- more than ten times its worth in 2010 -- and will account for 4.5 percent of total retail. E-commerce entrepreneurs and experts say small-town India will play a big role in the online bonanza.

Besides books, online shoppers in India buy goods such as handicrafts, jewellery, traditional cuisines such as Wazwan.

Hailing the initiative, a businesswoman, Gazala Amin, said that the new website would help to outreach millions of people and make them aware about the exquisite products of the valley.

"I think that making of websites and e-commerce is the call of the day. We have to promote because the outreach of e-commerce is tremendous. If you have a website it outreaches to millions of people within a few seconds which you cannot do, no matter how much you try by the traditional ways. So, I believe you should market traditional products non-traditionally now," she said.

Apart from offering discounted and fast service, such sites have also provided a national platform to regional merchants by selling their products online.

Tourism is considered to be the backbone of the economy of the state as 60 percent of Kashmiris are dependent on tourism.

Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a Mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and filmmakers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital.

Planeloads of India's upwardly mobile middle classes have visited the picture postcard-perfect Kashmir Valley this summer, making it the busiest tourist season since the armed revolt began in 1989.

In wake of the decline in violence in India's Kashmir, one gets to see various development activities taking place in every sector.

--ANI (Posted on 02-01-2014)

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