Shanghai – Newcomers and long-time Inter textile exhibitors from outside China may have different business agendas and various expectations, but they all seem to agree on one thing: China specifically and Asia in general are where the best prospects for growth exist in home textiles.
On the opening morning of the fair today, aisles and booths were packed with show-goers in the International areas in Halls W1 and W2. Major country pavilions from Turkey, Italy, Korea and elsewhere were standing-room-only, as were individual stands from companies hailing from more than 30 countries.
“We are expecting to see customers from all parts of the world here this week, ” said Ajay Arora, managing director of D’Decor Home Fabrics, the Indian supplier that is a long-time exhibitor at Intertextile. “We’re feeling good about business,” he said indicating that Asia has been strong for the company and the U.S. market is picking up. He said he also believes the worst is over in Europe “after falling off the cliff.”
At the other end of the spectrum is Mundotextil, the Portuguese towel supplier that is a first-time exhibitor. “We’re following the evolution of business that China can be an increasingly good market for our products,” said Rogerio de Matos, managing director for the company.
“We’re starting to see a medium-income class that is growing here. We believe they are interested in and can afford our products.”
With the economy soft in Europe and consumers there more interested in cheaper towels, he said China represents a good opportunity for a company that makes better products.
De Matos said he wasn’t sure how Mundotextil would decide to do business here, either directly or through a distributor. “We’ll have to see what direction we take.”
Another first-time exhibitor is Terry Palmer, a towel producer from Indonesia that has targeted the Chinese market for very much the same reasons. “We decided to come here because of the big population in China and we think the market is very promising for our towels,” said Irene Irawati, marketing manager for the company.
Like Mundotextil, it is focusing on the middle to better market as she said it couldn’t be competitive at the low-end. Terry Palmer is working with a distributor here to launch its line, which it sells throughout Asia and in parts of Europe.
Irawati said business was all right this year, though Asia is doing better than Europe. The company does not sell into the US market.
Feroze 1888 Mills Limited, from Pakistan, is also showing at the fall Intertextile Fair for the first time, though it did exhibit at the smaller spring show earlier this year. It is taking a different approach to the Chinese marketplace, according to Muhammad Tasleem, general manager for marketing and customer service, targeting the low-end. “Our products are cheaper than the Chinese, even after the tariffs, which are 14 percent.
“So being a low-cost supplier is a real opportunity for us,” he said, adding that the company is only showing its towels but is hoping to sell both retail and commercial accounts.
Tasleem talked about the Pakistani cotton crop this year, which has been hurt recently by excessive rains and is expected to come in several weeks later than usual. He wasn’t sure how this would impact pricing but said yarn prices continue to climb overall, up 8 percent so far this year.
Arora of D’Decor mentioned another international economic consideration that could help his company’s export efforts and that’s the recent slide in the Indian rupee. “It makes us more competitive as an exporter, which is where we do 70% of our business.
“We’re feeling good about business.”
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