Lingerie and underwear manufacturers in China are expected to enjoy average annual profit growth of 20 per cent with sales expected to hit almost $11 billion in 2002, it was reported on Wednesday.

Citing unnamed industry experts, Asia Pulse said the country currently has more than 3,000 producers of intimate apparel stretching from Guandong Province in the south to Shanghai in the east and Beijing in the north.

The paper reported that the experts believe many of the underwear enterprises need to improve their competitiveness, shift from processing business to independent development and produce brand products.

It added up to 600 million pieces of underwear are expected to be sold in China this year with 60 per cent of those consumers seen as women who live in the country’s big cities.