Over 91 per cent of mainland China's garment suppliers are planning to increase their production capacities following the end of quotas next year, according to new research.

The 'China Supplier Survey: Summer Garments 2005 Buying Season' interviewed 205 suppliers and found that two thirds expect their capacity to expand by over 20 per cent when clothing and textile trade is liberalised at the start of 2005.

92 per cent of the suppliers expect higher sales for the summer 2005 season. More than 60 per cent believe sales will increase by over 10 per cent, while 24 per cent estimate sales will rise by more than 25 per cent.

Over half of the respondents plan to expand capacity by 20-50 per cent by taking on more employees and developing their factories and/or buying extra machinery.

One third of the suppliers surveyed are planning to create, or are already building, new garment manufacturing plants.

Michael Kleist, editor-in-chief of Asian Sources' Fashion Accessories & Supplies, whose team undertook the research, said: ''Suppliers are gearing up for more orders. 

"Many makers are simply responding to advance notification from their current US and European buyers to be ready for increased orders if quotas aren't replaced with some other restriction.''

Seventy-five per cent of suppliers consider the European Union to be a focus of growth after quotas end, while 68 per cent see the US as being the area of potential.

Mainland China is currently the world's biggest exporter of clothing. A number of countries have expressed fears that the country will increase its market domination after quotas expire to such an extent that less well-developed producers will see their industries collapse, and are pushing for restrictions to be introduced to prevent this.