Years of experience and efficient production bolster Fujian province’s position as one of China’s major providers of intimate apparel and swimsuits.
The area hosts roughly 800 companies specializing in the line, most of which have been manufacturing and exporting designs for at least a decade. At present, the industry is still primarily OEM-oriented, although a few makers boast in-house brands. More than half of businesses are located in Jinjiang, Quanzhou.
About 50 percent of factories concentrate on either undergarments or swimwear. The rest offers both categories. Releases consist mainly of bras, panties, shaping and thermal apparel, bikinis, maillots, rashguards, boardshorts and coverups. On average, Fujian yields 2.8 billion pieces per year, with a capacity utilization rate of 70 percent.
Facilities use domestically sourced equipment, including computerized sewing, pressing and smocking machines. Some employ more advanced units from Taiwan, Japan, Italy or Spain for better efficiency and fewer defects.
Large enterprises generally conduct R&D, material sourcing, sample making, cutting, sewing, QC and shipping in-house. Nevertheless, the province also has several plants to which processes may be subcontracted. For instance, the industrial district in the town of Shentu, Quanzhou, has facilities that handle weaving, bleaching, dyeing, printing and packaging exclusively.
Most companies, regardless of size, maintain product development teams. At small factories, staff members typically draw sketches according to clients’ ideas and requirements. Bigger operations create their own styles, and add aesthetic and functional enhancements to current models. A number of businesses work together with universities and textile researchers, or establish design centers overseas. Employees are often sent to local and international trade shows to keep abreast of current trends.
QC personnel conduct inline and final inspections to check if releases meet stipulations. Technicians usually join training arranged by third-party organizations such as Intertek and SGS so they can understand regulatory requirements and improve procedures further.
To help suppliers upgrade products, the Ministry of Commerce Foreign Trade Division and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles have issued the Export Underwear Quality and Safety Manual. The material includes standards and consumption habits in target markets, and suggestions on how to avoid trade barriers and promote comprehensive competition.
The majority of makers create samples free of charge, but taxes and shipping costs are shouldered by buyers. Delivery is via air or sea. Upon arrival of orders, manufacturers give clients about 10 days to examine the items. They often provide compensation if the final designs do not match those of the trial model.