Cotton Incorporated and Cotton Council International have joined forces to promote greater awareness of cotton products to the Chinese market.

The new consumer public relations programme hopes to drive preference for cotton among Chinese consumers.

Allen Terhaar, executive director, Cotton Council International, and Mark Messura, executive vice president, Cotton Incorporated, said: "The Chinese market is too important for cotton to cede to alternative fibres."

The multi-faceted programme is themed "Cotton - Beyond Your Imagination," and will centre on a student design contest in cooperation with the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology (BICT).

The winning designs will be displayed in Beijing and Shanghai in autumn 2006, and the public asked to vote for their favourites via the internet.

"This contest will educate students as to the design benefits of cotton, its fashionability and versatility. By taking Chinese fashion to the public, we  are also educating the consumer and creating an opportunity to influence the direction of preference toward cotton products," explained Allen Terhaar.

A Chinese cotton-centric consumer website is also being created to offer information on fabric care, fashion for the family and home decorating to further educate the Chinese consumer on the many uses of cotton.
 
Cotton Council International (CCI) is the export promotion arm of the national Cotton Council of America, and Cotton Incorporated is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton.