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Hair raising! Pakistan makes millions of USD selling human hair

PW Bureau

Pakistan exports over 100,000 kg human hair to China and that hair, processed and repackaged, is sold to consumers clamouring for wigs and extensions, reports The Dawn

Islamabad: The export of human hair in Pakistan is booming, with the country selling 100,000 kg of human hair valued at USD 132,000 to China over the last five years, Pakistan's mainstream newspaper the Dawn reported. The hair, processed and repackaged, will be sold to consumers clamouring for wigs and extensions made from the sought-after material. Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Textile told the National Assembly that 105,461 kg of human hair was exported to China in the last five years.

Growth in China's Make-up industry propelled export

AM Chauhan, a prominent beautician in the country, told the Dawn that the increase in the export of human hair is mostly because of the growth in China’s makeup industry. Chauhan added that another reason was that the local production of hair accessories has declined recently.

Exporters in Pakistan have placed bins in hair salons and buy hair at an average rate of Rs 5,000 or Rs 6,000 per kg, Chauhan added. Workers in China process human hair into a variety of styles, including Afros, wigs, and extensions. High-quality hair is also exported to the United States and Japan since they have a high demand for hair from their entertainment industries. At the same time, hair extensions and wigs are imported into Pakistan as well.

A Temple in India earns more than 225 Cr Annually selling hair!

The famous Tirupati temple earns over 225 Crore annually selling human hair that devotees offer to God. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams which has the responsibility to manage the temple affairs has told PSU Watch that the temple had crossed 200 Cr mark almost a decade back in 2011. The revenue that comes from selling hair has been ever-increasing. Since 2011 only the temple authorities started e-auctioning of the hair because of the rise in demand from traders across the world. TTD officials said the human hair is broadly divided, with sales point of view,  into five categories depending on the length and texture - hair longer than 31 inches; 16- 30 inches; 10-15 inches; five-nine inches; and that of less than five inches. Although there is also a sixth variety, grey hair, which is donated by senior citizens but has no takers in the market.