Instead of taking over her father's company, as the daughter of a successful entrepreneur, Xu Taofang has established her own leading brand in the anti-radiation clothing sector for pregnant women: Tianxiang.
Tianxiang's turnover had amounted to 320 million yuan ($46.76 million) as of last year and it reached 370 million yuan in the first half of this year.
"We expect it to keep a growth rate at 40 to 50 percent in the second half," Xu said.
However, six years ago when Xu finished her bachelor's degree in Singapore, she was given sales work by her father, founder of Shanghai Honest Fashion Co Ltd, a clothing company specialized in producing clothing for middle- and old-aged women.
Xu, 21 years old at that time, found that the anti-radiation clothing, which can block the radiation from computers, TVs and microwave ovens, was little recognized in China, while anti-radiation clothing for pregnant women, protecting the growing babies from any radiation was very popular in Singapore.
Her father, who thought the market was very narrow, reluctantly agreed to her suggestion to turn the company gradually from traditional clothing production to high-tech anti-radiation clothing.
And so Tianxiang brand anti-radiation clothing for pregnant women was born. All materials were imported from Japan, as anti-radiation materials were unavailable in China at that time. However, high prices due to the costly imported materials, poor design and the weakness of the material impeded Tianxiang’s sales. It was sold at a price of around 1,500 yuan per piece. Its anti-radiation function decreased after being worn for three months and it was unwashable.
Overcoming the hurdle
To lower the material costs, Xu succeeded in persuading Tianxiang's Japanese material suppliers to transfer part of their production line to China. Lower labor costs benefited both of them and Xu was also able to study their production technology during the processing procedures.
Meanwhile, in order to develop their own anti-radiation cloth, she set up a 30,000-sq m base in Shangdong for anti-radiation fiber production and logistics. Finally, Tianxiang developed its own metal fiber and the nano-silver fiber cloth, greatly cutting the material costs.
"The cost of our self-developed anti-radiation cloth is only one-third of imported cloth", Xu said, Tianxiang is currently being sold at 550 yuan a piece.
"We also solved the problem that the imported anti-radiation cloth was unwashable. Now, Tianxiang supplies materials to over 60 percent of anti-radiation clothing manufacturers in China."
Tianxiang was invited to work out the national standards for anti-radiation clothing.