Malaysian textile and clothing exports are set to double to an annual value of US$7.5bn by 2020 after advancing strongly in 2011, according to a new report.

In 2011 Malaysia's textile and clothing exports increased by a significant 28.4% to US$3.8bn, says the latest issue of Textile Outlook International.

Within this total, textile exports grew by 33.5% to US$2.5bn, representing a 65.3% share of total textile and clothing exports, while clothing exports increased by 19.8% to US$1.3bn, representing a 34.7% share.

The Malaysian textile and clothing industry is hoping that the robust advances achieved in 2011 mark the start of a strong upward trend in its exports.

These hopes are based on ambitious government plans for further development of the textile and clothing industry, which involve a focus on high-tech and higher added value products - in line with the Malaysian economy generally.

These plans reflect the fact that, despite rapid growth in other industrial sectors in recent years, the Malaysian government still regards textiles and clothing as an industry with potential.

Also, Malaysia is a particularly attractive location for foreign investors. The Malaysian government has demonstrated its support for, and its commitment to, business, and policies have been implemented to establish a favourable environment in which there are opportunities for companies to achieve growth and generate profits.

Several new growth areas in the textile and clothing industry have been identified for promotion in the country's Third Industrial Master Plan.

These areas include industrial and home textiles, functional fabrics, ethnic fabrics and high-end fabrics and garments.

In addition, there are plans for greater emphasis on key support facilities and services - such as design houses, fashion centres, and specialised dyeing and finishing facilities.

The report 'Prospects for the Textile and Clothing Industry in Malaysia' was published in issue No 158 of Textile Outlook International.