Chinese-based apparel brand, Bosideng, which is produced by the Jiangsu Kangbo Group, saw domestic sales revenue reach 2bn yuan ($241m) last year, while exports rose to $75m.

A Jiangsu Kangbo representative said the company had been approached by US firms Boss, Gap, and Polo Ralph Lauren this year. They were interested in linking up with the group, he said, although no deals had been agreed yet.

Chinese companies are likely to follow Jiangsu Kangbo's lead by putting more emphasis on building their own brands in the run up to the country's entering the WTO economic experts predicted. Companies must improve China's reputation for quality as competition will get tougher as 2005 gets closer they added.

"The government is expecting traditional export-oriented goods with competitive predominance including raw material and labour to further enhance competitiveness and establish their own brands," said Yu Danhua, a government official.

Premier Zhu Rongji said at the fourth session of the Ninth People Congress that the country's foreign trade volume would total $680bn in 2005.