China is the world’s biggest textiles exporter and market, and it has “advanced manufacturing and additional investments placed by Chinese companies around the world.” This and other findings were discussed at the latest Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics Fair and reported in an article in Knitting Industry.
In his keynote in Shanghai, “The Current Situation of China’s Textile Industry,” Xu Yingxin, vice president of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, chairman of CCPIT-TEX and co-organizer of the fair, noted that:
- China leads the world in chemical fiber production, which exceeded 50 million tons in 2018, two-thirds of global production.
- In 2018, textiles exports from China reached 37.6 percent of the world’s total and 31.3 percent of total global apparel exports.
- Chinese consumers may have become wary of over-spending, but domestic sales of clothing still grew by 8 percent in 2018 and continues to grow in 2019.
- Trade tensions between the U.S. and China may have caused a decrease in investments. China’s textile industry investments in fixed assets increased by 5 percent in 2018, then slowed in the first half of 2019.
- China is entering a new era of textile design and manufacturing and has adopted three missions: culture and local talent, technology and innovation, and sustainability.
- As of July 2019, the Chinese government had signed cooperation agreements with 136 countries along the Belt and Road route, which travels across three continents. The Belt and Road initiative began in 2013 and in 2014, it became a national development strategy in China. The total trade volume between China and countries along the route has totaled more than $6 trillion, accounting for almost a third of China’s total trade in goods during the last five years.
- Exports to the U.S. represent about 18 percent of China’s textile exports and 38 percent of U.S. total imports.
In connection with the keynote, panelists from around the globe discussed lessons learned from the textile industry in China. Ongoing China–U.S. trade tensions may have opened opportunities for other countries. Ade Sudrajat of the Indonesian Textile Association “noted that Indonesia has experienced a decrease in purchasing power and views the trade war as an opportunity—as seen in Vietnam, whose exports to the U.S. more than doubled in 2018,” the article stated.
The panel also discussed the link between a strong consumer economy and strong domestic purchasing power. Paul Alger of the U.K. Fashion and Textile Association warned of social consequences and decreased purchasing power that can be a result of a weak consumer economy, as seen recently in the U.K.