China remains world’s top manufacturer as export share declines

China still holds a 31.5 % share in the US textiles and apparel market. However, its share in world exports declined nearly 2 % in 2019 from the previous year. Latest Chinese Customs statistics from January to August 2019 reveal among the top 10 garment exporters in China, American brands such as Nike and Gap have maintained sustainable growth Even amidst the ongoing tariff war between the United States and China, Chinese textiles and apparel sector seems to be faring quite well. Recent data reveals, China’s total export of textiles and clothes in 2019 recorded a 7.9 % year-on-year increase to reach USD 48.96 billion. However, the country’s exports slowed down 1.6 % during the first half of the year. Of this, clothing accounted for 73 %,  while textiles made up the retaining 27 % of total exports.

China still holds a 31.5 % share in the US textiles and apparel market. However, its share in world exports declined nearly 2 % in 2019 from the previous year. Latest Chinese Customs statistics from January to August 2019 reveal among the top 10 garment exporters in China, American brands such as Nike and Gap have maintained sustainable growth.

Brands, retailers cut back China operations

Many US brands and retailers are planning to scale-down their operations in order to avoid the risk fuelled by future uncertainty.  A recent survey conducted during the Sourcing Summit New York revealed that around 35 % attendees from major global apparel brands and retailers planned to reduce their sourcing from China by around 50 % . They plan to diversify their sourcing to other alternatives like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Cambodia though many of them still rely on inputs from China.

Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh offer these companies an opportunity to serve US brands and retailers and also avoid tariffs. In the next five years, these companies plan to transfer 20 to 30 % of their production to overseas factories.

Unparalleled efficiency enables China retain position

However, China still remains the centre of manufacturing for apparel and textile companies as the country offers unparalleled efficiency beyond the reach of other Asian nations. Easy availability of raw materials in China also enhances its supply chain efficiency and speed to market.

The delivery time for products with complex procedures is almost a month slower in Southeast Asia than in China. Therefore, brands selling fast-fashion are more in numbers in China than in any other country. The status of progress on talks toward an agreement on trade between the US and China still remains unclear however, China hopes to reach an agreement soon.

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