China-Weaving a high road to growth
Chinese silk company uses APEC platform to highlight global plans
Riding on the back of endorsements from global leaders during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' meeting in Beijing, Chinese silk major High Fashion Silk (Zhejiang) Co Ltd is looking to spread its reach beyond the nation and enhance its standing as an icon of Chinese culture, a company official said on Tuesday.
High Fashion Silk, a leading woven silk and knitting fabric producer from Xinchang in Zhejiang province, rocketed to instant fame after top global leaders wore the company's glitzy New Chinese Suits during the APEC welcome ceremony in Beijing on Monday night.
"We are honored to be the sole fabric provider for the APEC meeting," said Lin Ping, chairman and chief executive officer of High Fashion Silk. "China is the cradle of cultivated silk and we hope the endorsement from global leaders and their spouses will lead to more taking to Chinese-style fashion."
Lin said the company had offered four lots of fabric totaling 6,000 meters for the APEC meeting. Two sets were made from the top mulberry silk, while the other two were a blend of top mulberry silk and wool.
"Our focus is to transform and become a cultural and creative company, based on supportive policies and our own advantages," said Lin.
According to Lin, the entire fabric-making process for the APEC took over a month to complete. "We traveled on the ancient Silk Road to draw inspiration for colors and designs. The finished product was achieved after 60 processes spread over one month.
"The New Chinese Suit stands for peace, happiness and beauty," Lin said.
The fabric designs for the APEC meeting represent China's commitment and vision to be a global leader in quality, he said. The same vision has now been translated into the commercial parlance of haute couture, which refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing.
"We are planning to open several stores in Beijing soon," said Lin, adding that in Shanghai, the company has inked cooperation agreements with Donghua University (formerly China Textile University).
High Fashion Silk posted flat revenue growth of 1 billion yuan ($164 million) last year and a net profit of 30 million yuan during the same period. During the past three years, its total output in terms of value exceeded 2 billion yuan, with $80 million in exports.
The company has an annual production capacity of 10 million meters of woven silk, 1,000 metric tons of silk knitting fabrics, 3 million pieces of home textiles and 3 million silk neckties.
The company is also looking to improve its technology and innovative skills by using its 38 patents and advanced equipment from Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Japan.
The main brands, designers and retailers it cooperates with are the Guangzhou-based Exception de Mixmind, Uniqlo Co Ltd from Japan, and Calvin Klein Inc, Diane von Furstenberg and Macy's Inc from the United States.
Besides High Fashion Group, the parent company of High Fashion Silk, other leading silk companies in China include Wujiang Dingsheng Silk Co Ltd in Jiangsu province, Hangzhou-based Wensli Group, Zhejiang Jiaxin Silk Co Ltd and Jiangsu Xinmin Textile Science and Technology Co Ltd.
China's exports of genuine silk products in 2013 totaled $3.5 billion, up 3 percent, while imports rose 3.5 percent to $260 million, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
Shanghai-based CharColn Consulting said the value of Chinese silk products accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the nation's entire textile industry, but these are high-value products with a strong cultural aspects.