Business / Industries

Textile firms go on an overdrive in New York

By LI JING (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-23 13:24

Hundreds of China's textile and apparel makers helped kick off the International Apparel Sourcing Show on Tuesday in New York. A record number of Chinese companies are participating-up 30 percent from last year-as they look to establish new niche markets in the United States.

"More Chinese brands are on display this year. Most of them used to focus on the domestic market earlier and are now focusing on the US market," said Sun Ruizhe, vice-chairman of the China National Textile and Apparel Council. "They are supposed to offer more good options for the US business partners."

The show, which is being held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan is on till Thursday. It has attracted more than 600 Chinese companies and about 1,000 companies from more than 20 countries, which are displaying products including clothing, fabrics and home textiles.

Sun said China's textile and apparel industry has been restructuring in recent years, and more Chinese companies are starting to focus on the overseas market, in part due to the relative saturation of the market in China.

The show, in its 16th year, is jointly organized by the China National Textile and Apparel Council, CCPITTEX and Messe Frankfurt US.

Zhang Qiyue, Chinese consul-general in New York, said: "I am glad to see the big presence of Chinese companies at the show, which indicates promising prospects for China-US trade and economic cooperation in the textile and apparel industry. I am confident the trade show will facilitate cooperation."

She said China's textile and fabric industries significantly contribute to US-China bilateral relations. From 2000 to 2014, bilateral textile and apparel commerce grew from $6.2 billion to $46 billion.

"This year is particularly important for China as well as the United States, as President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the US in September," Zhang said. "I am confident this visit will build sustainable results and take bilateral ties to an even higher level."

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, exports from China to the US increased slightly from January to May. In April, exports of textiles and apparel to the US increased by 7.8 percent.

However, industry insiders said the business in the US is in a rough patch.

Zhao Miaoqi, manager of a Ningbo fabric company, said its US orders shrank by 30 percent in 2014. "I'm 75 years old, coming all the way to visit the market to study the reasons behind the slump."

Zhao's company started doing business with European brands like Zara and Adidas in the 1980s. "I like doing businesses with the US; the market is usually steady", and people can be trusted, Zhao said.

Deng Zhijuan, an officer from a Shanghai company, said: "As business is not as easy as before, customers are becoming savvy and even picky about prices and services.

"We have to upgrade services and offer new products more often to retain customers."

She said that the demand for high-priced fabrics such as silk has decreased, while synthetic fabrics like viscose and rayon polyester are more popular in the US market.

Winter collections were also showcased at the show. Jiangsu Sainty Fortune, a State-owned company, has brought its winter collection to New York.

"The US and Canada now contribute more than half of our business," said Deng. "As Europe's economy is going down ... and the US economy is picking up, the market is more significant for us."

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