Interview with Lihua Zhu

Face2Face
Lihua Zhu
Lihua Zhu
CEO
Dishang Group
Dishang Group

Dishang Group is the first Chinese company to purchase a South Korean clothing company. What are the major factors that attract the global clothing industry to South Korea?

The market in South Korea is very strong and vibrant. We already have strong relationships in the region and expect to learn a lot from this experience. For us it is a natural evolution of our original design manufacturer (ODM) business model.

Your company has more than more than 20 years of experience in developing technical fabrics and apparel solutions. What technological advancements have taken place in this sector over the years?

For us, the production of garments in reality is not so different now as it was even 20 years ago. However, the use of computers for the development and specifications, patterns and general communication has greatly speeded up the development cycle.

Do you think that womenswear segment is shifting from labour intensive to knowledge intensive segment? Can you elaborate on it?

For us, this is true. We are focusing on understanding trends and developing designs and fabrics which meet the customer needs more quickly each season. This is important as customers are constantly looking for new products and fresh ideas; if we can provide them we can grow.

How will e-commerce affect the entire textile-apparel value chain in future? Will it change the way business is done at present? Will it mean an end of bricks and mortar stores?

Bricks and Mortar stores will always exist, however they will become a showcase for the brand experience and less a place to make purchases.

What is the importance of transparency in sustainable production for textile supply chain?

This is becoming more important every day. We are working with a number of customers to find ways to improve the sustainability of our production facilities and are happy to make these necessary changes – but it takes time and must be supported. In order to improve the transparency of our supply chain we have also worked hard to consolidate the number of suppliers we use and become an important customer who can influence their standards and compliance.

You have once said, "It was not an easy decision to say I will give up everything and start my own business." What is your message to the new entrepreneurs who would like to enter into apparel business?

When I started in the apparel business, the beginning was hard, but starting today would be even harder, so I would say 'Prepare for The Challenge!’
Published on: 01/11/2013

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.

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