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Taiwan needs a three-layered approach to sustain textile growth

"Functional textile is Taiwan’s forte amid stiff competition from its Asian counterparts. This has been possible because of its strong thrust on R&D, advancements in manufacturing capabilities and cross-industry collaborations. Taiwan today accounts for about 70 per cent of the world’s functional fabrics, and is the sixth largest textile exporter globally. For years, Taiwanese suppliers have been offering efficient, friendly services and a wide range of high-quality fabrics at competitive prices, which has boosted its business."

 

 

Taiwan needs a three layered approach to sustain textile

 

Functional textile is Taiwan’s forte amid stiff competition from its Asian counterparts. This has been possible because of its strong thrust on R&D, advancements in manufacturing capabilities and cross-industry collaborations. Taiwan today accounts for about 70 per cent of the world’s functional fabrics, and is the sixth largest textile exporter globally. For years, Taiwanese suppliers have been offering efficient, friendly services and a wide range of high-quality fabrics at competitive prices, which has boosted its business.

A strong player in sports apparel segment

Taiwan needs a three layered approach to sustain

 

With lifestyle changes, and workout becoming a part of daily routine and sportswear has emerged a strong  category globally. With a boom in performance apparel sector, product lines have expanded, and a host of new brands have emerged. Taiwan’s apparel industry has directly benefited from the growth of brands like Under Armour and Lululemon, and the steady sales of giants like Nike and Adidas.

Taiwan is giving tremendous competition to countries like Japan and Korea. The signing of the China-Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2015 has increased pressure on Taiwan’s textile industry because China remains the biggest export market for the country. With Vietnam’s inclusion (and Taiwan’s exclusion) in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), there are possibilities of shifting business to Southeast Asia, owing to lower tariffs, cheap labour and improved manufacturing capabilities. To circumvent this scenario, Taiwan has to work on differentiation strategy by developing a focused and strategic position in the market.

A three-layered approach to branding

To build a higher-value position in functional textiles, Taiwan needs to take a three-layered approach.

Global-facing companies across the textile supply-chain in Taiwan need to consider and understand their real value in the world of functional textiles. They need to understand their competitive advantages, and build on their strengths. The biggest victory lies in communicating these USPs to the masses and capture growth horizons.

Taiwan still lacks the associations of industry-leading quality, innovation and sustainability, particularly when compared to manufacturers from Europe, Japan and the US. The textile industry in Taiwan needs to rebrand and focus on a set of strategic messages and supporting marketing communications that can change Taiwan’s perception as a destination for lower-value textiles.

To drive Taiwan’s textile industry towards a higher-value position requires support from the government and rethinking its global positioning. Taiwan is seen as a leader in cost-down manufacturing – developing good quality products at competitive prices. But with growing competition from China and Southeast Asia, it’s unlikely this will remain sustainable in the future.

Tapping eco opportunities

In order to capture major market share, Taiwanese textile industry needs to clearly shift focus towards eco-textiles. Ably supported by its existing cost-down know-how and advantages, such a position would provide brands and consumers a clear choice: choose Taiwan for textiles with the lowest possible environmental footprint. For any brands serious about being sustainable, Taiwan should become their default option.

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