Shall we start with a brief introduction to CIFA?

In the mid-1960s, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan were the four main shoe exporters in the Asian market. Competitors, but also ‘colleagues’, the four countries decided to create a platform where they could share information and opinions as well as help each other. Thus, they created the first International Rubber Footwear Manufacturers Conference, which took place in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1971. In 1982, the name of the conference was changed to ‘International Footwear Conference’ (IFC). Over time, the membership of the IFC has gradually increased to the current 17 associations. In 2008, the International Footwear Design Competition (IFDC) was launched, the first edition of which was held in 2009 in Guangzhou (China) in conjunction with the Shoes & Leather International Exhibition. In 2011, it was decided to set up an organisation for the sector, which was called the Confederation of International Footwear Association. Thus CIFA was born, whose main activities are the organisation of the International Footwear Conference (IFC) and the organisation of the International Footwear Design Competition (IFDC). The associations taking part in the IFC are also members of CIFA. “The 40th International Footwear Conference 2023 will be hosted by the Indonesian Footwear Association in August 2023,” specifies Eddy Widjanarko, current President of the Indonesian Footwear Association and CIFA.

Let’s talk about the footwear market in Indonesia: what is the current situation?

Indonesia was a major player in the relocation of footwear production from Taiwan, Japan and Korea from the 1980s until the mid-1990s, when the situation changed with the arrival of China on the global scene. Today, the country can still count on an important presence of footwear companies, around 400 in number, which produce mainly for the big global sportswear brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas, so much so that around 80% of exports are sports and casual footwear.

How has the situation in the Indonesian market changed after Covid?

With the advent of Covid, China was affected by the various lockdowns, which negatively affected footwear exports. In addition, it is going through a period of significant wage claims by workers, resulting in higher costs. These factors have prompted many major global sports shoe brands to relocate part of their production to Indonesia and Vietnam, at the expense of China. As a result, footwear production in Indonesia has increased sharply since 2020, with exports exceeding USD 6.1 billion in 2021. This is a 29% increase from 2020. In 2022, exports grew by USD 7.7 billion compared to 2020 (+25%). We are mainly talking about branded sports and casual footwear, much of it leather.

What forecast can you imagine, then, for the coming years?

The forecast is undoubtedly positive, even if the figures for the first six months of 2023 show that overstocking and rising inflation have led to a decrease in orders. However, major investments have been made in the production of footwear, particularly sports footwear, which should lead to production remaining at the same numbers as last year, with an increase in exports of around 20% next year. And it is within this general framework of growth in production and exports that ILF – Indo Leather & Footwear Fair, which will be held in Jakarta in August, acquires particular relevance.

Would you tell us more about INDO LEATHER & FOOTWEAR EXHIBITION 2023?

We are betting a lot on this event to promote our footwear industry and our exports. The fair, organised by Krista Exhibitions, will be held from 3 to 5 August at JIExpo Kemayoran, Jakarta (Indonesia) and will offer a complete overview of Indonesian footwear, leather goods and leather goods production, as well as machinery, materials and chemicals for the footwear and leather goods industry. Nearly 300 exhibiting companies representing more than 33 countries will be present and some 8300 visitors are expected. It is in this context that the 40th International Footwear Conference 2023 will be held.

Will you also be passing through Italy in the summer of 2023?

With a delegation of companies we will participate in Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, and we will take part in the important event/seminar that will be held in Riva del Garda during the trade fair. For our associates the Riva platform represents an excellent springboard to expand export prospects.

Eddy Widjanarko