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Prospects for the Textile and Garment Industry in China
published in Issue 139, June 2009
China’s textile and garment industry has expanded at a breathtaking pace in recent decades. Overall, the industry employs around 20 mn people directly—plus a large number in support activities—and the sector fulfils a vital role in the Chinese economy. Export sales expanded 42-fold in the 28 years to 2008 to reach US$185 bn—more than ten times the value of Chinese textile and garment imports. China has become the world’s largest supplier of textiles and garments, and is the largest source of textile and garment imports into the USA, the EU and Japan. China also ranks among the world’s largest producers of natural and synthetic fibres, as well as having extensive operations for manufacturing yarns, fabrics and garments. In 2007 alone, garment production amounted to 51 bn pieces. Chinese manufacturers also account for around half of the world’s purchases of textile and garment manufacturing machinery.
China’s rapid expansion stems from the declaration of an “open door” policy by Deng Xiaoping 30 years ago. Since then a series of reforms has been implemented, and international trade and investments have been promoted. In addition, successive Chinese leaders have pursued policies designed to encourage private enterprise and stimulate foreign investment. As a result, the industry is now characterised by ambitious private sector enterprises, which have an entrepreneurial spirit and a mission to expand their presence in international markets while meeting demand from the country’s increasingly prosperous population of 1.34 bn people.
That said, the industry faces several challenges—including growing competition from Asian countries with lower labour costs, notably Bangladesh and Vietnam. One imperative is to move away from the low cost image which its products have in the global marketplace and to develop recognised international brands. Another imperative is to restructure manufacturing operations into larger units to secure greater economies of scale and generate higher profit margins. Meanwhile, the domestic market holds huge potential for growth and this will underpin future expansion. Also, while the global recession has affected the Chinese economy’s short-term prospects, most experts have predicted significant economic growth over the next two years, from which the Chinese textile and garment sector stands to benefit.
- Prospects for the Textile and Garment Industry in China
- Importance of the Textile and Garment Industry to the Chinese Economy
- Development of the Textile and Garment Industry in China
- China: Geographical, Political and Economic Profile
- China: Infrastructure
- China: Human Resources
- Size and Structure of the Textile and Garment Industry in China
- Textile and Garment Production in China
- Production Machinery and Technology in China's Textile and Garment Industry
- China's Textile and Garment Exports and Imports
- Foreign Investment in China's Textile and Garment Industry
- Government Policies and Investment Incentives
- Textiles and Garments in China: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats