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The changing role of china in the apparel business

The changing role of china in the apparel business Source:
Date: 26-07-2013
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The 29th World Fashion Convention will be held in Shanghai this year. It is the first time the IAF Convention takes place in China and if ever there was a good time to take a closer look at the hugely important and extremely dynamic roll of China in the global fashion chain it is now, in 2013.

As a production country, China has risen to be the main apparel production country by far with a percentage of world exports of close to 40%. This percentage is slowly decreasing. This is well known, but the debate is about the rate of change, the reasons for the change and about the countries that will produce the clothing that is not made in China any more. Understanding what drives China’s decreasing share of world clothing exports is key to predicting the coming five years’ main sourcing trends. Maybe one of the main trends will be that China will remain a dominant production country for many specific articles of clothing. The supply chain session of the World Fashion Convention will focus on understanding sourcing development, with China as the focal point.

As a market for apparel, especially in the context of halting European markets, the Chinese market is one of the most dynamic in the world. A growing interest in a broader array of brands may converge with an economic policy aimed at promoting domestic spending rather than government investments. Now also smaller brands are getting chances at entering the Chinese market and a more diverse distribution landscape containing more multibrand stores and shop in shops in department stores is emerging to cater to these brands. The branding session of the IAF Convention in Shanghai will take a very close look at the nature of the Chinese market for apparel.

Fashion executives want to see the connection between all of these trends that seem to be converging in China. Interestingly, the most important connection is the place itself. China’s attraction as a production country may increasingly be based on its attraction as a retail market. Also, as its retail scene becomes more diverse and demanding, this may lead to a more diverse and flexible production landscape as well.

Will the world of apparel move towards more closely knit retail-production blocks? We will have to wait and see. But there is no better place to observe this and to contemplate about it than in Shanghai, the embodiment of fast paced change and millions of connections and starting on September 24th the location of the IAF’s 29th World Fashion Convention.
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