Xu Ying Xin: "It is time for
China to invest beyond its borders"
Increasing salaries have brought about a transition in China's clothing industry towards high-end products. The sector's leaders are responding through a strategy that focuses on better technology, creation of domestic clothing brands, sustainable development and training. But Chinese companies are also investing abroad, as Xu Ying Xin explained to FahionMag. The deputy secretary general of CNTAC (China National Textile & Apparel Council) and the executive vice president of CCPIT (Textile Sub-council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) spoke to us at the Intertextile trade fair in Shanghai.
FashionMag.com: How do you plan to support the changes currently impacting production in China?
Xu Ying Xin - We have tens of thousands of factories, and our goal is to become a stronger and more sophisticated industry. Recently the global economy and the market situation have changed. The Chinese economy has also evolved. The cost of labor has increased significantly. In fact, we must rebuild our industry and improve the quality of our textile industry. One of the key aspects of this change is technology. We need to update and enhance our technological capabilities to better meet demand. Another issue is the development of our own brands and the promotion of Chinese brands. We already have a lot. And they gradually have to become more upmarket. Consumers like buying brand names. So we have to showcase them. In ten years, we hope to have hundreds of good brands to promote.
FM - During this trade fair, you have emphasized the reduction of industrial pollution. How do you hope to bring about changes in production methods?
XYX - The sustainability of our industry is one of our priorities. Today, and not only in China, we are all concerned about the reduction of pollution from our production and protecting our environment. In our industry, it is also very important to develop new approaches in this field, such as recycling or the use of natural fibers. There are many levers that will allow us to reduce our pollution in the future. Primarily in the dyeing and finishing sector in China, where we are strongly urging the industry to work on water treatment.
FM - Chinese exhibitors at the Intertextile often mention training. What is your view on this issue?
XYX - This is the fourth priority that we have identified: to provide better training to our professionals. We want to develop the industry, but the task is ultimately in the hands of those persons running our factories. In China, we have universities, technical schools and training centers. This is an important aspect. We need to have more people able to understand these new technologies, people able to develop new designs. Through this issue, coupled with the other three points I mentioned for our industry, we believe that we can remain a strong force in the textile and clothing industry worldwide. And above all maintain our global competitiveness.
FM - Are you worried about seeing many Chinese companies relocate their entry-level production activity?
XYX - It is time for China and its companies to invest beyond its borders. To date, many companies have already established a presence in countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam. Only a few days ago, a large delegation from Pakistan arrived in Shanghai to talk to our leaders. They are in the process of adopting rules that will allow Chinese companies to more easily develop a business in Pakistan. So there is a very major evolution. Chinese companies will continue these foreign investments. But on how to do it, they have a variety of options – whether to build factories, buy existing companies, cooperate with foreign brands. The development of the Chinese industry abroad will take many forms.
FM - Recently a free-trade zone in Shanghai was established. What effect do you expect it to have, and do you want to see others created?
XYX - JI obviously think that such zones could make it easier to export from China to its foreign trade partners. Companies that have joined this development project should quickly see the benefits offered by this new zone. As to whether more should be created based on the same model, that I cannot answer. I honestly have not thought about it yet. But it is a possibility.
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