As per global analytical firm GlobalData, though the on-going US-China trade war highlights the country’s need to diversify clothing and footwear sourcing, it is not an easy task given its dominance of apparel supply chains. China is by far the largest clothing and footwear supplier, accounting for 42 per cent of all apparel and 69 per cent of all shoes imported into the US last year. All other countries combined are ill-equipped to handle the sheer volume of capacity that would be required to move production out of China.
China had a 31.3-per-cent share of world apparel exports by value last year. No other country can match the size of its supply base, its range of skills, its quality levels, its product variety and the completeness of its supply chain from raw materials to final products – or has the capacity to absorb its business. China also continues to appeal to apparel buyers as rising wages are largely being offset by efficiency and productivity gains.
In addition, the country plays a key role as a textile supplier, as the world’s largest producer of fiber and fabric and the largest textile exporter, with the value of shipments last year reaching 37.6 per cent of the global total. Its on-going investment in modern spinning, weaving and knitting machinery is also helping to drive better quality, lower production costs and more environmentally-friendly production – and shores up China’s future position as the key supplier of fabric and trims.