Noritake Lanka bets on growing Indian market
Noritake Lanka Porcelain is expanding its new retail network in India by opening more outlets in key metros with the aim of penetrating the huge and growing market on the sub-continent.

“We’re now on the verge of opening our second show room in Chennai. Construction was started by our exclusive distributor with the guidance of Noritake,” declared Nimal Perera, Director and General Manager of Noritake Lanka Porcelain.

The company’s first showroom in India, opened in August 2004 in the Defence Colony, an affluent suburb in the capital New Delhi, has become modestly profitable after just one year. Perera said the response was good with foreigners, especially diplomats, being keen buyers of Noritake tableware.

The Indian showrooms would ensure speedy delivery of products to Indian customers which previously took longer because of shipping and air freighting.
Noritake Lanka Porcelain plans to open the Chennai showroom in January or February, a third in Hyderabad and a fourth planned for Mumbai later on. The company is also aiming at the market for tableware in Indian hotels.

“Now we’re concentrating on developing hotel ware and through our distributor we’re trying to approach five-star hotels in India,” said Perera. Perera said the Noritake brand was already well established in India and that the signing of the South Asian free trade agreement four years ago helped open up the Indian market by progressively lowering import duty rates on ceramic products to zero from almost 35 percent basic duty previously. Noritake Lanka employs 1,200 workers at its factory in Matale, the largest in the Noritake group. The firm exports over 80 percent of its output of a million pieces of tableware a month. These comprise of domestic tableware, standard airline tableware and hotel and restaurant tableware.

It recently began manufacturing new product lines such as fine casual china and airline porcelain ware, as well as freezer proof and microwave-safe casual gourmet ware. The Matale factory exports about 9,000 fine china dinner sets of 91 pieces to the global market each month.

The firm’s product compete with those of industry leaders like Lenox of the US, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton of the UK and Villeroy & Boch of Luxembourg. Over the past 30 years, Noritake Lanka Porcelain has expanded in four stages with a total investment of US$ 10 million.

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