Interview with Mr Edward Yihua Kang

Face2Face
Mr Edward Yihua Kang
Mr Edward Yihua Kang
Chairman & CEO
Ever-Glory International Group Inc
Ever-Glory International Group Inc

Headquartered in Nanjing, China, Ever-Glory International Group Inc is a leading apparel manufacturer, distributor and retailer in China and US. Ever-Glory is the first Chinese apparel company listed on the American Stock Exchange (now known as NYSE AMEX), and has a focus on middle-to-high grade casual wear, outerwear, and sportswear brands. The Company maintains global strategic partnerships in Europe, the United States, Japan and China, conducting business with a number of well-known brands and retail chain stores. Ever-Glory also operates its own domestic chain of retail stores known as "LA GO GO." The Company currently has over 130 retail locations in China. Mr Edward Yihua Kang has served as President, CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors at Ever-Glory International Group since 2005. From December 1993 to January 2008, Mr Kang has served as the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Goldenway Nanjing Garments Co. Ltd- a subsidiary of Ever-Glory. He has extensive worldwide managerial and operational experience focusing upon business development and strategic planning. Mr Kang formerly was the Senior lecturer of the Management College, Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University, and the Vice General Manager of the Import and Export Department of Nanjing Shenda Company. Mr Kang has an MSc from Peking University, a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Beijing Aeronautics and Astronautics University and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University. Speaking with Face2Face team Mr Edward Kang discusses current milieu in retail and garment industry in China and world over.

Face2Face is pleased to welcome you, Mr Kang!<br></br> The textile and clothing industry has been a pillar industry in China for a long time. How does Ever Glory associate itself with this glory?

Textile and clothing is a labor intensive industry. China’s garment industry started to emerge as a significant advantage in labor force and labor cost. Ever-Glory has been in the garment manufacturing business since 1993. With its large production base, Ever-Glory has been focusing on manufacturing middle to high-grade casual, outwear, sportswear, etc. We also sell apparel to well-known brands and retailers in major markets in Europe, US and Japan. We place considerable emphasis on R&D, meaning innovative and distinctive product designs and have won a number of awards in the textile and garment industry. Ever-glory now is a leading company in China’s textile and garment industry.

Let me also request your survey on global apparel market vis a vis China as it is performing in current times!

The fashion industry is quickly shifting to China because of the nature of fashion, short life cycle and intense supply chain management. By contrast, production of high output, low price/added value is shifting to Southeast Asia where labor and production costs are even lower than in China. Overall, we believe China’s garment industry is becoming more competitive with sustainable growth momentum as it is increasingly involved in high value-added operating practice.

So, how do you see global retail industry shaping up in this milieu?

The retail market has been reporting sales declines since the global economic slowdown in 2008. Although consumers did not eliminate entirely their spending, the financial crisis has affected the consumption structure profoundly. Specifically, a part of high-end consumption is shifting to middle and low-end due to drop in consumption capacity. As a result, the sales/output of middle and low-end segment is likely to increase in this environment. To cater to new customers migrating from high-end, middle and low-end brands are expected to put more effort toward enhancing their product development and increasing the value of their product.

And, that means addition to the stiff competition in industry; be it from local peers or international players! In such environment, what all strategies can help apparel manufacturer and retailer of your kind to be successful and identified as a most pick brand?

Well, in wholesale, Ever-glory has established 'Fashion Innovation Base', an operating philosophy that emphasizes innovative and distinctive product designs to increase margins. Also, Ever-Glory provides a 'one-stop-service' which involves all aspects of apparel production – product design and development, sourcing and sampling, quality control, manufacturing and logistics and more valuable products for our customers. To ensure that our products perfectly meet clients’ specifications, we conduct thorough R&D, prior to production, and we achieve better results by shortening the time in the supply and production chain, not by simply focusing on price.

In Retail vertical, the growth is due to our partnership with La Chapelle, a premier Shanghai-based women’s fashion retailer. Thanks to their years of success in China’s retail market, we are able to take advantage of their strategic advantages in retail. We continue to increase brand awareness and build market share by rolling out our retail concept LA GO GO and various marketing and advertising campaigns.

Published on: 26/10/2009

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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