just-style authors and correspondents
Articles by Wang Fangqing
Once clothing sourcing was all about China. Not any more. Recent years have seen a decline in China's export industry, especially in labour-intensive sectors such as clothing and footwear manufacturing, because of rising labour costs and an appreciating Chinese yuan. But while many China garment makers are moving out or moving online, production shifts are not necessarily a linear process.
Hong Kong-based Esquel Group, the major vertically integrated cotton to shirt supplier, is making progress in a research programme to develop a sustainable Chinese supply of Sea Island cotton – also known as extra-long staple (ELS) cotton – in Xinjiang.
While doomsayers have been waxing lyrically for the past two years about how the Chinese clothing industry could have a shaky future, John Cheh, vice chairman and CEO of Esquel Group, the Hong Kong-based vertically integrated cotton to shirt maker, is resolute in his optimism.
A conference on sustainability staged by Hong Kong-based textile and apparel giant Esquel Group has heard how China is making serious efforts to green its growth – and the clothing and textile sector is playing its part.
Exports of textiles from North Korea to China are expected to quadruple to US$800m by the end of 2014, giving Chinese clothing firms a welcome supply of cheap fabric.
As more Chinese fashion companies are shifting their focus from export markets to domestic consumers, many are investing in powerful, sophisticated management software to meet the fast changing apparel market.
As labour costs in China continue to rise, the country's apparel and textile industry is seeing some orders transferred to other outsourcing locations as foreign buyers seek lower-cost manufacturers.
The Chinese Government is to invest CNY10bn (US$1.6bn) to boost the textile industry in the country's largest cotton producing region - the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in western China.
China's first anti-water pollution standard targeting the leather and fur processing industry came into force this weekend (1 March) and could push many small manufacturers out of business.
Shoemakers in China's Wenling city, Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, now have to pay a minimum of CNY1m (US$162,784.15) to be registered and licensed with the local government to start business.
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