Fast Retailing Co, operator of the rapidly growing Uniqlo chain of clothing stores, is to send sewing and dyeing experts to China to train local workers, company officials said Monday.

Fast Retailing, which produces 90 per cent of its Uniqlo apparel at 80 contractors in China, will initially send 13 experts and increase the number to about 40 within three years, the officials said.

The number of Chinese plants making clothes for Fast Retailing will also increase to 140.

The training programme is aimed at maintaining expert skills as the shrinking textile industry in Japan is losing the opportunity to hand them on to young workers there, the officials said.