Labour productivity in China and India surged ahead of other nations in the Asian region between 2007-2009, expanding by 8.7% and 4% respectively, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) says.

"Much of the productivity gains in China and India can be attributed to their exceptionally strong GDP performance in the past two years," the report notes.

In the same period, average labour productivity contracted by 0.3 % in the 10-member country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes major apparel producing nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The latest figures show ASEAN falling further behind - and are a far cry from its strong performance prior to the crisis, notes the ILO.

It also highlights that in 2000, for example, output per worker in the ASEAN region was 61% greater than in China and 84% greater than in India.

The strong performance by the world's two biggest emerging markets is also impacting investment trends say textile and apparel industry experts.

Investment are flowing to China and India, as apparel enterprises  "see them as big domestic markets , and even if they can't export there's big money to be made by selling to their domestic market," said Munir Ahmad, executive director of the International Textiles and Clothing Bureau (ITCB), an umbrella group for 26 developing countries.

Mr Ahmad concurred that while China and India are moving ahead, other countries - with the exception of Vietnam - have lagged behind.