Chinese kites are facing headwinds this festive season, with a significant dip in their sales. Restrictions on the sale of Chinese synthetic manja in major kite flying centres in the country, and the high cost of fancy kites made in China, have hurt their sales, say kite dealers.

“It is entirely an Indian kite festival this year, going by sales,” Nitesh Gupta from Delhi-based Three Star Kite Maker told BusinessLine. The volume of sales is “normal” like last year, he said, adding that the demand is expected to go up in a day or two.

However, this has been a good year for Sabir Hussain of Barkath Kite Dealers in Bengaluru, as higher sales of desi kites have pepped up business. “We have already sold 20,000 kites, which is higher than what we sold last year,” he said.

There is reason to be happy because despite high prices and margins in Chinese-made kites, sales are lower and the chances of damaged merchandise are higher.

The cost of Indian kites ranges from ₹5 to ₹60 apiece, while imported ones cost from ₹35 to ₹1,500, depending on design and make. In exceptional cases, this can even go upwards of ₹30,000.

Recent restrictions on the use of Chinese manja by some State governments and also pleas from NGOs and animal protection have led to its virtual blockade from the market.

The death of birds caused by manja had led the Forest Department in Telangana to request the State government to impose a ban on imported manja.

Gujarat, a major hub of the kite industry, prohibited Chinese manja a couple of years ago.

“Chinese manja is not being sold in most of the major cities. Bareli manja from the North has gained ground in its place,” Hussian said. This is also confirmed by kite sellers in Delhi. Customers are seen asking for local, cotton thread at Mahboob Aziz Patang House in the old city here.

This is the second consecutive year of falling demand for China kites, which had done very well in 2014.

It remains to be seen how things will shape up next year.

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