China is now the world’s most important garment manufacturing country with its clothing factories consuming a massive 20 billion meters of fabric a year, says Intertextile, organizers of the Shanghaimart and Intext trade fairs due to take place in Shanghai from October 18 to 20. Recent research shows that Chinese citizens are now spending up to l8 per cent of their total income on shoes and clothing and that the under-thirties in particular are seeking internationally-celebrated brand name goods as a guarantee of quality.Imported cloth is becoming increasingly popular with a quarter of all the fabrics now used by the Chinese industry sourced overseas. Most imported fabrics will ultimately be re-exported in the form of finished garments ― 40 per cent of total production goes abroad, earning China the equivalent of US$30 billion a year. The long term picture is one of consumers in China itself demanding higher quality fabrics than locally-based mills can provide, giving would-be exporters an even larger potential market than at present, says Intertextile.

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