The top ten exporters contributed 72.9% to the world’s clothing export shares in 2016, while only 55.3% was accounted for in 2001. Similar to that for textiles, the share from Mainland China exceeded one-third of the global clothing exports. Bangladesh and Vietnam also had tremendous increases in recent years and have become the new top three exporters of clothing products in the world1.

With the pressure of continuously increasing labor cost and environmental protection legislations, Mainland China has been slowing down in the local development of manufacturing fashion products in the last few years and started to seek for new opportunities of lean, advanced and clean manufacturing or investing abroad in the countries of “one belt one road”2.

India is the second largest producer of fibers in the world, of which cotton fibers take up more than 80%. In recent years, India has also rapidly developed in the production of synthetic fibers with supports of government policies and funds. However, its low labor cost benefits are shrinking, especially when some other South and Southeast Asian nations are beginning to expand in textile and clothing production3.

Turkey has become an important exporter of textiles for the European Union, including raw materials such as cotton yarn, and processed fashion products, ranging from knitted apparel to home textiles. With convenient transportation between Europe and Asia, Turkey is also good at cotton cultivation and animal husbandry, and the Turkish government provides very supportive policies and guidance on talent training and technology innovation, thus enhancing Turkish textile and clothing exports. However, Turkey relies on energy imports, and the increasing energy price has a negative impact on the manufacturing industries. Its regional stability is another concern in recent years.

Bangladesh gradually becomes a new choice for low-cost manufacturing of fashion products under the government policies of textile and clothing development. There is a strategic driver for the industry to increase export from the projected 31 billion USD in 2018 to 50 billion USD in 2021, which is a growth of more than 60% in three years4. Its key exporting destinations included the European Union and the USA. The English level of Bangladesh people is relatively higher in Asia because of long-term British colonial rule; however, the upper stream of the industry and the national infrastructure are still relatively weak.

Among the South and Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is another manufacturing base with low labor cost and better infrastructures. Even a number of traditional Chinese manufacturers have now established factories in Vietnam. The strict environmental protection policy and internal corruption are the main concerns for investors.

By contrast, Hong Kong dropped drastically in both textile and clothing export shares within this period, due to relocation with the corresponding decline of local manufacturing industries in the 1990s and in particular the termination of the global quota era in 2005.

  1. [25-04-2018]
  2. fantasy-or-chinas-biggest-fashion-opportunity-yet [25-04-2018]
  3. [30-05-2018]
  4. [10-06-2018]