Turkish carpet makers aim to outdo China in exports

Turkey, which accounts for more than 67% of the world's machine-made carpet production, aims to surpass China as the leading exporter by increasing sales of all types of carpets, including handmade, machine-made and tufting machine-made variants.

Chairman of the Southeastern Anatolia Carpet Exporters' Association (GAHİB), Ahmet Kaplan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey produces 67% of the machine-made carpets in the world and more than 60% of them are produced in the southern province of Gaziantep.

He added that carpet exports soared by 10% from January to September this year, compared to the same period of last year.

Kaplan said Turkey's carpet exports hit $2.2 billion last year. "Our exports this year can reach $2.4 billion with a 10% rise. We rank second in the world in the export of hand-made, machine-made and tufting machine-made carpets."

China ranks first in carpet exports, he said that Turkey's exports have reached $2.3 billion over the last 12 months and China's exports have reached $2.9 billion. "We aim to surpass them in all categories: hand-made, machine-made and tufting machine-made carpets," Kaplan added.

Emphasizing that they are working to increase exports, Kaplan said: "We need to increase our exports by 20%. There are countries where we are yet to go and work. I believe that if we can tap these markets, we can easily achieve these figures."

He added that they have exported carpets to 141 countries over the last 12 months. "We have identified Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea as target markets this year to boost exports," Kaplan said.

Indicating that Austria and the U.K. are also among the target markets, Kaplan said: "Our goal is to send delegations to five-six countries every year, [as well as] go and do preliminary research there." Underlining that Japan has a serious market, Kaplan said: "If we are determined, we can get a piece of the pie there. Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia also have serious demands. Next year, we will focus on Africa. We are still in the planting period in the target markets. We think we will get significant increases here in one-two years."

Indicating that they aim to be the first supplier in the machine-woven carpet in all countries, Kaplan said: "The fact that China or Belgium is at the top means we have not done our part. We have to work and get to first place. We need to be the first supplier in all the countries we regard as a target market."

According to Kaplan, carpet makers in Gaziantep, who rank first in the world in machine-made carpet production, sell 1 kilogram of carpet for $3, while this figure is $5 in China and $6 in Belgium. He highlighted that added value should be provided to the products in order to increase this sales figure in the upcoming period.

Indicating that companies are making investments to this end, Kaplan concluded: "At the moment, many of our companies are improving their standards. By attaching importance to R&D [research and development] and design, we will try to sell the products that we sell cheaply for a little more valuable and a little more expensive price. Gaziantep produces a little cheaper and economical product. What we need to do is add value to this area. We need to create brands and get to $5-6."

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