African hair is a bil­lion-dollar busi­ness

Lesotho Times - - Business -

LATELY, an un­usual and lu­cra­tive busi­ness op­por­tu­nity has been cre­ated in Africa for In­dian beauty and well­ness com­pa­nies—hu­man hair.

In­dian hair, renowned for its strength and tex­ture, has be­come a sought-af­ter com­mod­ity in Africa, where it is sold as wigs or ex­ten­sions. The de­mand is such that it has en­cour­aged many In­dian com­pa­nies to not only weave hair ex­port into their global strat­egy, but also to in­vest in hair care busi­ness in the con­ti­nent it­self.

On Tues­day, Go­drej Con­sumer Prod­ucts In­dia an­nounced its plans to ac­quire the South Africa-based hair ex­ten­sion com­pany Friska hair for an undis­closed amount.

“This ac­qui­si­tion re­flects our con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing African con­sumers with a wide range of su­pe­rior qual­ity prod­ucts at af­ford­able prices,” the com­pany’s man­ag­ing direc­tor Vivek Gamb­hir said in a state­ment (pdf). “We re­main very ex­cited by the tremen­dous po­ten­tial of the African mar­ket.”

Other In­dian firms in­clud­ing Marico, Dabur and VLCC also have hair care busi­nesses in African coun­tries such as South Africa, Mo- rocco and Nige­ria.

Tem­ple tresses In­dia’s hair ex­port mar­ket is be­lieved to be worth about Rs2500 crore ( $393.5 mil­lion), and is post­ing an­nual growth be­tween 10% and 30%.Since ur­ban In­di­ans tend to get chem­i­cal treat­ments for their hair at beauty sa­lons, ru­ral tem­ples and vil­lages are the pre­ferred des­ti­na­tions for ex­porters look­ing for nat­u­ral, high qual­ity hair.

Among the big­gest con­trib­u­tors is the Tiru­pathi Tem­ple in Andhra Pradesh, which holds on­line auc­tions an­nu­ally. Since 2011, it has man­aged to col­lect Rs618 crore ($97 mil­lion) through the sale of hair via e-auc­tions.

The In­dian hair mar­ket is typ­i­cally known to ex­port two types of hair: Remy and non-remy. Remy hair, usu­ally col­lected from tem­ples, is of the high­est grade and gives a nat­u­ral look since the hair cu­ti­cles face same di­rec­tions.

Non-remy hair, on the other hand, is pro­cessed be­cause the cu­ti­cles do not face the same di­rec­tion. So it is treated with hy­drochlo­ric acid to re­move the cu­ti­cles, which re­duces the qual­ity of hair, be­fore ex­port.

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