“Many people believe that much of China’s cotton infrastructure is antiquated,” says Marks, Miss. cotton producer Bobby Carson. “Perhaps this is true, however, I can assure you that China is rapidly modernizing key segments of the industry.”

Carson, president of Cotton Council International, led a COTTON USA delegation to China that traveled to Beijing and to two cities – Qingdao and Wuxi – where it carried out seminars on U.S. cotton sourcing for 184 textile mill executives representing 90 companies in September.

One of the stops in Qingdao was a new warehouse complex owned by the China Reserve Cotton Management Corp.

“This recently completed and ultra-modern facility is one of 18 of its size to be constructed throughout China,” said Carson, who spoke at a press briefing conducted by CCI at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.

“Each has a capacity of 230,000 bales and the ability to move more than 2,000 bales in or out of the facility per day. Small amounts of U.S., Australian, Brazilian and other cottons were seen in the warehouse, plus a sizeable volume of 1997 Xinjiang cotton in an older building in the complex.”

The COTTON USA delegates learned that the size of the Chinese textile industry is amazing and appears to be poised to become even larger in the years ahead. According to a recent study:

  • China’s textile capacity stands at 50 million spindles and 750,000 looms and is growing.
  • There are 45,600 textile firms employing 10 million workers.
  • China’s textile and apparel exports reached $36.5 billion in 2002.
  • China is projected to produce 50 percent of the world’s supply of cotton yarn and blended yarn by 2015.
  • China is projected to produce 43 percent of the world’s supply of cotton fabric also by 2015.
  • China is a major importer of cotton yarns and fabrics from other Asian sources.
  • “Fortunately, a significant percentage of these cotton product imports contain U.S.-grown cotton,” said Carson. “But there is no doubt that China is now and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.”

    On the consumer demand side, he noted, “several of the officials indicated that the Chinese consumer is expressing a strong preference for natural fiber, even in rural areas.

    “Globecot projects that some 1.4 billion people are expected to live in China by 2015. If population and economic growth remains on track, China’s domestic consumption of apparel and accessories could triple by 2015.”

    e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com