Chinese textile companies make sales pitch in New York

2015-07-22 14:08China Daily Editor: Si Huan

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 brand companies are on display this year which used to focus on the China home market and are transitioning to put their eyes on the U.S. market," said Vice-Chairman Sun Ruizhe of the China National Textile and Apparel Council. "They are supposed to offer more good options for the U.S. business partners."

The show, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan from Tuesday through Thursday, will showcase more than 600 Chinese companies among a total of some 1,000 companies from more than 20 countries and areas 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 more 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 U.S..

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

She said China's textile and fabric industries significantly contribute to U.S.-China bilateral relations. From 2000 to 2014, bilateral textile and apparel commerce grew from $6.2 billion to $46 billion. The industry is an important area of economic activity in that it creates jobs and strengthens China-U.S. relations.

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

According to the China National Bureau of Statistics, exports from China to the U.S. increased slightly from January to May. In April, the export of textile and apparel to the U.S. increased 7.8 percent.

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

Zhao Miaoqi, manager of a Ningbo fabric private company, said the company's U.S. 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 U.S.; the market is usually steady" and people can be trusted, Zhao said.

"As the business is not as easy as before, customers are becoming savvy and even picky about prices and services," said Deng Zhijuan, an officer from a Shanghai company. "We have to upgrade services and put forward refreshing products more often to retain our customers."

She added 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 U.S. market.

Winter collections also could be found at the show. Jiangsu Sainty Fortune, a state-owned company, brought its winter collection to New York.

"The U.S. and Canada are now contributing more than 50 percent of our business," said Deng. "As Europe's economy is going down, the percentage will grow higher. And the U.S.' economy is picking up, and the market is more significant for us."

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