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Nanditta Chibber  |  New Delhi 

LAUNCH: an opportunity in India.
China is not what comes to mind when you sink your heels into a plush carpet, be it at a luxury hotel, multinational corporate office or someone's home. Tai Ping could soon change that "" if not at the retail level, then in the institutional segment.
The Chinese carpet maker has tied up with Patodia Contract, one of India's largest manufacturers and exporters of hand-made carpets; and with a showroom in Gurgaon, the alliance is set to target the hospitality and construction sectors with contract floor-covering offers.
Tai Ping, the brand, has a Chinese ring to it. But the company, headquartered in New York and listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is a consummate multinational, with operations in 14 countries.
The current plan is to explore the Asian markets further, for which the company has invested "approximately half a million US dollars with for the joint venture in India", in the words of James Kaplan, CEO,
Tai Ping Contract, the Indian venture, will use the design capabilities of both companies, and will aim "to be a resource centre for carpet solutions through its biggest product profile, allowing diversity of product possibilities with its manufacturing advantage", according to Richard Morris, managing director, Tai Ping Carpets.
One big opportunity lies in the global hospitality chains looking to start operations in India. "Tai Ping Contract wants to be at their doorstep," says of
He hopes to give his retail outlet, Hands, a boost too. It will now have machine-made carpets too, while its own hand-made wares get bonus display at Tai Ping's overseas outlets.
With its own spinning, dyeing and manufacturing bases, Tai Ping Contract claims to be price competitive. "The only thing we don't do is rearing our own sheep," quips Kaplan.
Tai Ping already claims to have bagged deals worth $1 million in India in its first six months, signing contracts from the Taj Group of Hotels, Sahara Star Hotel and commercial projects with architect Hafeez Contractor.
All this, even before the of its showroom.
Globally, Tai Ping carpets a wide range of hotels, casinos and hospitals. With R&D, the company has developed anti-allergic, anti-microbial carpet fibres, and plans illuminated carpets too, for discos.
In India, with competition from wood laminate flooring, now the flooring standard at luxury apartments, another challenge would be to re-emphasise the luxury of carpets.

First Published: Thu, October 05 2006. 00:00 IST