Rising exports have enabled Chinese textile companies to more than double their profits in 2000, but analysts fear that the drop in demand from the US and Japan will prevent a repeat performance in 2001.

Domestic consumption for textiles has risen steadily although whether it is enough to counter the drop in demand from overseas remains to be seen.

Some analysts are tipping 2001 as the test for the industry, to see whether they can still make their money without the added bonus of increasing exports. Cutting costs, stabilising profit margins and improving quality will all become significant factors to watch throughout 2001.

According to a report in the Dow Jones, China's foreign trade ministry is expecting an export growth of eight per cent during 2001, compared to 2000's prediction of a 28 per cent growth rate.

The newspaper highlighted the boom in exports during 2000 with the success of several companies. The Jingwei Textile Machinery Co reported a 51 per cent increase in net profits to 133.9m yuan ($16.2m); Chengde Dixian Textile Co saw its net profits rise 19 per cent to 65.2m yuan ($7.9m); Luthai Textile Joint Stock Co reported a net profit increase of 34 per cent to 86.5m yuan ($10.5m) and Shanghai Worldbest Co net profits rose 27 per cent to 122.3m yuan ($14.8m).