booming T-shirt and polo-shirt industry is poised
for more than 30 percent export sales growth in
At US$3.3 billion, exports in the first nine
months of 2004 already surpass 2003 shipments of
US$3.2 billion. By the end of this year, exports are
expected to cross the US$4 billion mark.
Japan is China's largest export market, absorbing
close to US$2.5 billion worth of T-shirts and
polo-shirts from January 2003 to September 2004.
South Korea and Australia are second and third,
importing US$447 million and US$361 million worth,
respectively, in the same period.
The garment and textile quotas that have been in
place since 1974 limit exports to the United States
and the European Union. The US is currently China's
fourth largest importer, absorbing some US$268
million worth in the same 21-month span, while
exports to the EU amounted to US$559 million.
The quota system ends this year, and despite the
possible safeguards that might be imposed on China
T-shirts and polo-shirts, suppliers are already
preparing for an exports surge post-quota.
are some of the key trends we see in China's
T-shirts and polo shirts exports industry:
|Exports to the US and the
EU are expected to increase by 20 to 50
percent after quota removal.
|Most suppliers will keep
prices at current levels. Prices should drop
once per-piece quota fees are removed, but
suppliers still face rising raw-material and
production costs. In addition, uncertainties
over possible safeguards make suppliers wary
of changing current price strategies.
|Suppliers are aware they
cannot compete on low prices alone and are
boosting R&D capabilities and moving up from
low-end to midrange and high-end production
to remain competitive.
|Production capacities are
being expanded to meet the anticipated
increase in demand. Many suppliers are
building new factories.
China's more than 2,000 export manufacturers
produce T-shirts and polo shirts for men, women and
children. About half of these suppliers have direct
export capability and the rest ship their products
through trading companies. This report focuses on
men's and women's designs and does not cover
children's models. Most China makers of men's and
women's T-shirts and polo-shirts do not produce
children's models, and those that do usually offer
these as a sideline.
T-shirts account for more than 90 percent of
shipments, with men's T-shirts taking up more than
half the export share. More than 70 percent of
suppliers' output is produced for OEM clients. China
suppliers manufacture T-shirts and polo-shirts for
major fashion retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kmart,
and for sports brands Nike, Reebok and Adidas. The
remaining output carries suppliers' in-house brand
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