In 2018, the Australian wool industry celebrates more than 50 years of successful wool trade with China – a relationship that has established China as Australia’s largest customer, buying about 80% of China’s wool.
The Chinese textile and apparel market keeps increasing in value, partly thanks to China’s transformation into a global powerhouse following its decision to open up to the international economy. Today, it seems the only constant in China is change, but what endures is the country’s vast appetite and passion for Australian Merino wool and its deeply committed relationship with Australian woolgrowers.
In a series of special initiatives throughout the year, The Woolmark Company is marking more than half a century of a cross-cultural partnership between Australia and China. A delegation of Chinese media, industry and influencers visited Australia in May, to not only experience the origin of this fine fibre but also to celebrate the special bond between the two countries.
Through these delegations, The Woolmark Company and Australian Wool Innovation aim to expose emerging consumer markets to Australian wool and broaden consumer choice in innovative wool garments.
“China continues to remain the single most important buyer of Australian wool, with close to 80% of our fibre exported there,” explains Australian Wool Innovation’s CEO Stuart McCullough.
“I first started travelling to China as a wool trader in the late-1980s and was convinced from an early stage that the Australian wool industry was going to significantly benefit from the processing capacity of China. What evolved across the next 30 years exceeded any expectation I had in those early days.”
With increased affluence and a tendency towards leading healthier lifestyles, discerning Chinese consumers are now favouring natural, long-lasting garments, more so than following the latest trends perpetuated by fast fashion.
“The domestic consumption of our fibre is now being driven by the emergence of great affluence in China, which will continue to grow. Not only have we the perfect processing partner on our doorstep but we also have the perfect consumption partner,” says Mr McCullough.