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Taiwan taps into U.S. market

NEW YORK — Though they share decades of experience back in their homeland, six Taiwanese companies were newcomers at the Jacob Javits show, all sharing the same dream of introducing themselves and expanding into the American market.

"We think the potential of the market is here," said Fen Chang, of the Taiwan Textile Federation, and she felt Taiwanese companies have a lot to offer the American consumer. For example, "we are very strong on manmade fibers, such as polyester." And she hoped that by 2004 there will be no quota as well, further helping their expansion into the American market.

Jacquard producer Merryson came to the show because "we want people to know we're in the home market," said Harvey Underwood, of King Textiles, High Point, NC, which markets the Merryson line here. Underwood has partnered with Merryson's S.K. Chang for about five years.

Merryson has been selling fabrics and finished products such as draperies and slipcovers worldwide for a while, Underwood said, and now "we're looking to develop the market here in the U.S."

"We care about the American customer," said Teddy Chen of Formosa Alfa, a 25-year-old company that showed such product as place mats, vinyl shower curtains, and bath accessories and toilet seats. Americans also show more interest in the creative process, he said, and he believed that his products could meet their expectations. Formosa Alfa has a factory in Taiwan and one in China.

The company Tung Zong is also interested in capturing the American market, said salesmen Angus Tsai and Benny Wu. In the apparel business for 20 years in Taiwan, they are now interested in selling fabrics for the home, such as sheers.

Great Dawn Textile was at the show "to meet a lot of buyers so they get to know and recognize our products," said representative Mandy Kwang. In the fabrics business for 15 years, Great Dawn had a range of looks available from seasonal, to spring pastels and metallics. Another benefit of the show was that they wanted "to see what was shown here."

Though Chia Her Industrial has been in the home area for only about three years, it has been in the fabrics business for more than 27 years, producing such fabrics as suede and jacquards, said Meiling Ho, assistant section chief.

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