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Asia Echo May 2018


May 2018

Textile industry and ethical fashion in Asia-Pacific region

The textile and clothing industry in China is undergoing major changes. Restructuring of the industry and shifting consumer preferences are presenting both challenges and opportunities for China’s textile and clothing businesses. We chose two articles that focus on these changes and what they mean for the industry’s businesses in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s once-booming textile and clothing industry faces tough times

Across China, textile manufacturers and cotton mills are facing hard times. These manufacturers use cotton to produce a wide range of products for export to the United States, Japan and Europe. Recently they have been restructuring, introducing new processes and diversifying their products. Despite these attempts to promote economic growth, the textile and clothing industry is weakening due to slow growth in overseas demand, oversupply at home and increasing labour costs, leading to lower competitive advantages. The minimum wage of labourers is now more than double than that of some Southeast Asian countries, and main importer countries are starting to look elsewhere instead of China. These factors are especially worrisome for the smaller textile businesses, as they cannot compete with large competitors and most of them end up having to be sold to the larger manufacturers. While China remains a major exporter of textiles and clothing, businesses in this industry need to come up with new strategies and models to stop decelerating growth and improve their competitive advantage.

Read the full article on the CNBC website.

How ethical fashion is growing in Asia-Pacific – and five sustainable clothing brands to watch

The fashion industry across the Asia-Pacific region is shifting its focus from low cost mass production to zero-waste manufacturing. As consumer preference for ethical fashion continues to grow, more businesses are using recycled and biodegradable materials or artisanal handcrafting to meet the demand. As a result of this shift, large multinational businesses are starting to feel the pressure to change their operations or lose their competitive advantage. There is also a shift towards producing high value clothing to encourage consumers to buy less and recycle more. Consumers in China (the second largest consumer market) are also embracing sustainable fashion habits such as buying and recycling high quality clothing instead of buying low quality garments in bulk. This shift in China’s middle class fashion shopping habits is expected to drive the growth of the ethical fashion market as well as the fashion industry in general. The article highlights how ethical fashion techniques, such as using biodegradable fabrics, hand-weaving and leftover fabric from luxury brands, can be used by fashion businesses to grow their consumer base in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read the full article on the South China Morning Post website.



Modi’s ‘Make in India’ is stuck in first gear

The “Make in India” policy introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over three years ago has had diverging effects on Indian economy. While there have been improvements in certain areas such as the removal of red tape to make doing business in India easier, other areas such as investment in manufacturing have been declining. Instead of improving, the manufacturing share of gross domestic product actually fell following the removal of large denomination bills and the introduction of GST. The decline was further exacerbated by the fact that the majority of India’s manufacturing consists of small businesses with low investment and productivity levels. In order for the Make in India campaign to create growth in the manufacturing sector, the government needs to implement more flexible labour rules and transparent land acquisition laws, and invest in education and healthcare. These initiatives will allow India’s economy to grow and provide more opportunities for businesses to expand in this developing market.

Read the full article on the Nikkei Asian Review website.



Inside Shanghai’s robot bank: China opens world’s first human-free branch

The number of robot workers and human-free businesses in China is growing. These robots allow businesses such as banks to become fully automated as they can talk to customers, check accounts and take bank cards. Banks and other financial businesses can also use automated machines for money transfers and foreign exchanges, and they also offer better security and surveillance options. Robots and machines are being increasingly used across China as security guards, retail assistants, chefs and waiters. Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition technologies are also used to cut down on crime by identifying offenders and alerting the authorities. While these robots can offer many benefits to businesses, there are also concerns about violation of privacy and reduction of quality in goods and services. Despite these concerns, the number of robots workers and human-free businesses is expected to grow rapidly by 2020 to help reverse the declining manufacturing sector, fill the gaps in low-wage labour and provide cheap and efficient labour.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

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