How best can you describe the state of Chinese apparel and garment industry today?
China’s apparel industry is undergoing a new round of upgrade. To be exact, it is at the turning point from make to create. It is transforming from quantity-oriented to quality-oriented.
China’s apparel industry has made great progress since the reform and opening-up policy, twenty years ago. Low labour cost, sufficient skilled workers (70 percent of more than 10 million people employed by the industry), rich experience in management accumulated over the past dozens of years and continuous technical upgrade ensure China a leading position in the world in terms of its apparel production capacity, and enable it with the capacity to process products of different categories, different levels and different fabrics.
Market economy injected unprecedented energy into the apparel industry. China rapidly becomes the most energetic apparel market, the most attractive investment destination and the market for talents and machinery. The complete industry chain and over 50 industrial clusters whose combined output has accounted for 70 percent of the country’s total, are the advantages for China’s apparel industry to grow.
Meanwhile, Opening-up policy accelerated the internationalization process of the industry. Capital diversification not only brings in advanced technology, management, marketing strategy and international operation experience, but also boosted the creation and growth of China’s original brands.
The new round of industrial upgrade, which is happening in China’s apparel industry, is to sharpen the competitive edge of China’s apparel industry through optimizing allocation of industrial resources, commit itself to fostering a group of original brands and multi-national groups which are competitive on the international market, accelerate technological advancement, restructure the industry and transform growth pattern.
As organizer of China’s leading trade fair CHIC - deemed the biggest clothing trade fair in Asia, what is CNGA’s stake in organizing such industry expositions?
Yes, CHIC is not only the largest fashion fair in Asia, but also an annual event widely recognized by the industry in China. It is a perfect platform for the companies to expand market, promote brands, and carry out business negotiation and communication with international counterparts. However, facing economic globalization, CHIC has been improved in organizational form, content and services with the development of the industry and the changes in demands.
CHIC was first held in 1993. Since then, we have been encouraging business talks, trade and orders between the buyers and exhibitors. Many companies took part in CHIC for its huge market potential during the following five years. Since 1998 the beginning of the second five years, its function of promoting international trade and communication further tilted towards commercial trade and shows, and fostered brands consciously. It is during this period that China’s apparel industry began to shift from product competition to brand competition. CHIC entered the third five years in 2003 when it focussed on guiding the industry. It is during these five years that CHIC experienced the most of the changes and improvements. Professional operation further enhanced the influence of CHIC. Breakthroughs such as theme hall, brands shows, CHIC shows and international cooperation, fashion trends release and organization of distributors and retailers were introduced during this period. CHIC was developing towards the aim of exhibition of brands, an access to channels, an event of fashion, an honor of the top and a source of wisdom. The integration of the whole industrial chain was brought onto the agenda.
CHIC-2008 will move to a new exhibition hall. It not only means a new venue, but also the improvement in its content, form and services. We raise the concept of ‘new race, new cooperation, new challenges and new height’ and invite international consulting company to draft strategic plan for CHIC with the opportunity brought by Beijing Olympic in 2008.
Could you elaborate on Joint Convention of China Apparel Distributors and Retailers?
Joint Convention of China Apparel Distributors and Retailers is a platform we set up with aim to gather advantageous commercial resources of apparel industry, to standardize business operation mode of apparel retailers, and to facilitate cooperation between apparel companies and the components of apparel sales channel in China on the track of mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.
Held once in a year, and with distributors and retailers as its main body, the Convention invites participation of specialists in apparel industry and commerce. On this platform, the distributors and retailers can not only receive the latest news of the industry, but also benefit from the consultation provided by the experts in circulation. Convention keeps close contact with participating distributors and retailers in the form of convention circular and provides them with the latest industry information in a timely and prompt manner.
Chinese retail industry is facing boom time at present. How will your organization propel the future of retail sector in China?
Although China’s retailing industry has made great progress over these years, we are still left far behind the leading ones in the world in terms of original operation, information management, HR development and E-commerce. Chinese companies should at this time strengthen market operation, create and apply new marketing mode and improve the foundation of sales service.
In fact, many strong companies have been engaged in construction of outlets, such as opening flagship shops, recruiting franchisees as well as research on consuming environment and consumer psychology, which have made a big progress. This is the expansion and extension of enterprises. ‘Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Franchise Operation’ released by Ministry of Commerce came into effect in May 2007. This will contribute to the regulation and administration of licensing operations, streamline relationship between brand owners and licensees, and drive them to set up entity of mutual benefit on the basis of same objective.
What we need to pay attention now is- new science and technology changing the traditional apparel industry. Chinese enterprises should react positively towards the challenge that modern logistics and E-commerce have posted to the traditional production. This will not only shorten logistics time and cut down the cost, but also strengthen the quick response capability of enterprises and the whole industry. Its significance also lies in improving the general usage rate of resources and the integrated benefits of the enterprises.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.