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China Still Has Room to Improve

While the rest of the textiles-producing world views China as the unfettered dragon poised to swallow up the global market, China's manufacturers believe their industry is not yet in condition to capture as much share as it might.

China's home textiles companies continue to lag in three key areas, according to Yang Donghui, chief director of the China Home Textile Association. Areas in need of improvement include: the establishment of brands, alliances within the domestic industry to expand partner companies' reach, and more innovative design, he said.

“The only way out for Chinese companies is faster improvement of quality control, stronger awareness of patent rights and more widely recognizable brand names,” Yang added.

Sun Ri Gui, managing director of towel manufacturer Sunvim, largely agrees with that assessment.

“Due to the deficiency of the proprietary intellectual property rights — especially key technologies — added value products are still rare in many brands, with the brands only represented as the token of their trademarks,” he said.

That scenario will not only hamper profitability for many companies, he said, it also serves as a drag on the country's overall international competitiveness and the sustainability of foreign trade.

He believes the industry as a whole needs be spurred to establish brands for export, and given support to improve its technological expertise as well as product quality.

“High-end, advanced technology and high added values should be the trend guiding the production, with an aim to further promoting the brands,” he said.

Education is also an area that needs addressing for China's small mills to become players in the larger market, according to Wang Lin, general manager of small home textiles producer Yilei Fangzhi.

“The biggest problem confronting Chinese companies is the low capability and outdated thinking among employees. There is a very urgent need to solve this problem,” Lin said.

He added, “Quality is the secondary problem. If we can solve the two problems, China will be more competitive than other countries.”

While large-scale manufacturers were able to scale themselves up in preparation for free trade in 2005, the majority of the industry in China has a lot of developing to do, according to Lin Guofang, director of Fuanna, a large bedding and fabric manufacturer that is one of the country's best-recognized domestic brands.

“The home textiles industry has not reached a scale yet, and the management, quality and quantity still needs to progress to meet better standards for internal and international markets,” he said. “The capacity of large-scale production, purchasing and planning have not matured yet.”

Despite the challenges, none discount the potential. Shortly after the final textiles quotas dropped in January, China's government set a direction for the industry to follow — indicating it would lend greater support to companies transitioning out of low-end product to value-added goods.

TOP MANUFACTURERS: CHINA

Company Name 2004 Sales (millions)
*Pem-Jolly figure is for exports only Source: HTT research
1. Sunvim Home Textiles Co. $267.5
Bath towels and bedding.
2. Loftex 140.0
Bath towels. Opened U.S. division in '04.
3. Fuanna 100.0
Major bedding brand in China. Entering U.S. market this year.
4. Shanghai Luo Lai Textile Co. 99.2
Bedding manufacturer that also operates its own retail stores in China.
5. Shao Xing Bolan Home Textile Co. 63.5
Fabrics for window and show curtains, sofa coverings and table linens.
6. A-Fontane Fabrication Industrial 42.6
Bedding manufacturer that also operates its own retail stores in China.
7. Pem-Jolly 40.0*
Bedding.
8. Zhejiang Multi-Glory Group 30.4
Largest producer of down products.
9. JWL Textile Co. 27.8
Bedding.
10. Veken Holding Group 23.9
Upholstery fabrics, slip covers, bedding sets and sheets.
11. Hangzhou Hightex Co. 22.0
Fabrics for windows and sofa coverings.
12. Jiang Su Meng Lan Group Co. 17.4
Bedding.
13. QingDao Xi Ying Men Group 10.4
Bath towels.


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