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Rags to riches


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The ‘rag trade’ (apparel) is Sri Lanka’s largest export earner ($ 5 b); thrice the size of the next highest (legacy tea). Some key learnings for the other sectors:

  • Look outside your industry - the two biggest players (MAS & Brandix) ‘gatecrashed’ the industry
  • It is the performance and credibility of the top players that build the country reputation, not just promotional campaigns. Much like what LG and Samsung did for Korean Electronics, the top apparel companies did it for Sri Lanka
  • Size matters to compete globally – apparel is the only export industry has consolidated, while others are highly fragmented (3700 exporters across 35 sectors)

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