The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 18 March 2013

Textiles Scotland to capture share of £11 billion luxury Chinese market

Scotland’s textile sector is aiming to capture a share of China’s £11 billion luxury sector market and grow the value of Scottish exports to China by 50 per cent over the next two years.
This news comes as Scottish Enterprise takes 16 ambitious textile companies to participate in the first ever Scottish Pavilion at CHIC in Beijing, the 21st China International Clothing and Accessories Fair, from 26 to 29 March.
The Scottish delegation includes some of Scotland’s most exciting fashion designers, including award winning Rebecca Torres, Hilary Grant and Iona Crawford as well as established textiles firms such as Johnstons of Elgin, Hawick Cashmere, Eribe, and Barrie, which was purchased by Chanel last year.
They will showcase Scotland’s excellence in luxury, design and innovation to more than 110,000 visitors from 20 countries worldwide.
The Scottish pavilion is being co-ordinated by Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise’s international arm.
Cathy Black, head of Scottish Enterprise’s textiles team, said: “China’s luxury market is seeing year-on-year growth of 35 per cent, and its fashion industry is set to become the world’s second largest by 2020.
“Over the next five years, 30 per cent of growth in the global fashion market is expected to come from China, so there is a massive opportunity for Scottish companies producing high end, design-led and luxury products that will appeal to the aspirational and style conscious Chinese consumer.
“From this event alone, we’re hoping to generate at least £1 million of new additional sales for the participating companies, and, given the size of the market, we think this could be the start of something very exciting for the industry.”
One of the participants, Johnstons of Elgin, is very optimistic about the visit and the opportunities it will bring to their business. The company is currently developing a new strategy for a sales and distribution network in China.
Ian Pryde, export sales director, says: “The emergence of China as one of the most important consumer markets in the developing world and the growth of a new genre of discerning luxury consumer is fuelling an increasing demand for our product.
“Currently, Johnstons of Elgin branded products are not available in the mainland Chinese market, but we’re working hard to rectify this, and we think the CHIC exhibition could act as the springboard to helping us achieve our ambitions in China.”
The trade mission includes a range of activities to maximise the companies’ exposure in China. This includes:

•  A series of educational briefings from industry experts to highlight the market potential
•  A tour of some of Beijing’s high end department stores and other retailers to educate companies about the retail market and what consumers are looking for
•  Participation in a Scottish Fashion Seminar to profile the Scottish companies to influential Chinese buyers
•  An international match-making session to introduce Scottish participants to Chinese buyers, retailers and distributors.
Cathy Black of Scottish Enterprise adds: “China doesn’t have the traditional routes to market that Scottish companies are used to, making it more difficult for individual companies to make an impact. By working with our colleagues in China, we have developed an industry approach using the Textiles Scotland brand so we can target influential people within the industry in China and showcase Scotland’s world-class reputation for quality, design and innovation.”
The companies will be hoping to learn from the experiences of Scottish companies such as Kinloch Anderson, which already has a retail presence in China as well as J&D Wilkie, who set up a factory in Jiaxing five years ago that transformed its business back in Scotland.
Bob Low, Managing Director of J&D Wilkie, says: “The speed in which we were able to scale up our business to volume production in China exceeded all of our expectations. We now have a yarn spinning and weaving unit operating six days round the clock. Much of the yarn production comes to Scotland for weaving and this has resulted in over 40% growth, in the last three years, in our sales from Scotland to Europe.
“China is a country of fascinating differences in culture, food and the rate of change compared to the UK. The domestic demand is still growing at a phenomenal rate and there remains a significant perceived value in Western goods. There is no substitute for experiencing this first hand, and any opportunity to do so should be seized."
The full list of Scottish companies and designers participating on the visit are Barrie Knitwear, Eribe, Hawick Cashmere, Highlander Outdoor, Hilary Grant, Iona Crawford, Johnstons of Elgin, Kearse & Boys, Kirsteen Stewart, Maccessori, Murray Hogarth, Ness, Rebecca Torres, Slanj, Tartan Spirit and Yvette Jelfs.
Scottish Textiles is a vibrant and diverse sector which plays an important role in Scotland’s economy. Focussed around growth, collaboration and internationalisation, it achieves an annual turnover of £951 million and brings almost £300 million into the Scottish economy through exports. Home to over 600 companies it directly employs 9,100 people across the country.
A highly innovative sector, Scottish textiles has a world-wide reputation for its high quality, diversity and design excellence which consistently delivers high quality products on a global scale. Its heritage, which uses centuries refined skills, contributes to Scotland’s textile companies leading the way both at home and overseas.


Scottish Enterprise

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