China Insight: China’s Textile Industry — From Big to Strong

China has ranked as the world’s largest manufacturer for 11 consecutive years since 2010 and is the only country playing a major role in all industrial categories.

Whether in terms of total output, export value or retail sales, China’s textile industry is the largest in the world. The annual output of fiber alone reaches 58 million tons, accounting for more than 50% of the world’s total output; textile and clothing exports reach US$316 billion, accounting for more than 1/3 of the world’s total exports; retail sales exceed US$672 billion… Behind these figures is China’s huge textile supply. Its success comes from a solid foundation, continuous innovation, development of new technologies, pursuit of green strategies, understanding of global trends, heavy investment in R&D, and personalized and flexible production.

Since 2010, China has been the world’s largest manufacturing country for 11 consecutive years and is the only country that plays an important role in all industries. Data shows that 5 of China’s 26 manufacturing industries are at the most advanced level in the world, with the textile industry in a leading position.

Take a Chinese company (Shenzhou International Group Holdings Co., Ltd.) that operates the world's largest clothing processing facility as an example. The company produces about 2 million garments a day in its factories in Anhui, Zhejiang and Southeast Asia, and is one of the key OEMs for major global sportswear brands. Keqiao District, Shaoxing City, also in Zhejiang, is the world's largest textile trade cluster, with nearly a quarter of the world's textile products traded locally, and last year's online and offline transactions reached $44.8 billion. This is just one of China's many textile industrial clusters. In Yaojiapo Village near Tai'an City, Shandong Province, more than 30 tons of fabric are ordered every day to produce 160,000 pairs of long johns. As industry experts say, no country in the world has such a rich, systematic and complete textile industry chain as China, with both upstream raw material supply (including petrochemicals and agriculture) and sub-industries in each textile chain. From cotton to fiber, from weaving to dyeing and production, a piece of clothing goes through hundreds of processes before it reaches consumers. Therefore, even now, the textile industry is still a labor-intensive industry. China is the world's largest cotton producer with a history of textile production for thousands of years. Driven by its demographic characteristics, strong labor force and opportunities brought by joining the WTO, China continues to provide the world with high-quality and low-cost clothing.
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