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Zhejiang scarf suppliers thrive on fiber stock, infrastructure

The first installment in this two-part series details the strengths of the neckwear hub.

An abundant supply of materials and a well-established transportation network are helping Zhejiang province maintain its standing as China’s largest production base for scarves.

As a historical sourcing center for silk, the coastal province has numerous textile mills in the northern prefectures of Huzhou, Jiaxing, Hangzhou and Shaoxing. Apart from the lustrous protein fiber, these factories have diversified into other types of yarns, including acrylic, polyester, rayon, angora, wool and cashmere. More than 200 fabric markets are also scattered throughout the area, giving neckwear manufacturers convenient and affordable access to various inputs.

Resultantly, scarf companies are clustered in the capital of Hangzhou, which is bordered by the other listed cities to the north and east. Businesses there offer woven, knitted and crocheted models.

In addition, several exporters of fur stoles are located in Haining. This vicinity in Jiaxing has a mature industry for garments and fashion accessories made of leather and pelts. The suppliers are mostly small operations with fewer than 100 workers. Products are shipped to the US, the EU and Japan.

The sector also benefits from Zhejiang’s solid transportation system. Highways total nearly 47,000 kilometers, of which about 1,500 kilometers are expressways, while roughly 2,500 kilometers are first-grade. Both classifications accommodate a daily average exceeding 10,000 small cars.

Further, a four-hour road traffic circle has been created, putting the capital within reach from all other cities in the province in the said amount of time. Fortifying land connections are four train lines, namely Shanghai-Hangzhou, Xiaoshan-Ningbo, Xuancheng-Hangzhou and Jinhua-Wenzhou.

There are seven civil airports in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Yiwu, Taizhou and Quzhou hosting 185 domestic and international flight routes. Five major docks in Ningbo, Zhoushan, Wenzhou, Taizhou and Jiaxing are available for shipping products. The total handling capacity exceeds 310 million tons.

Moreover, the province attracts sufficient labor force from neighboring Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Henan and Hubei. In the past two years, factories have been raising salaries to keep migrant workers happy, some even by 20 percent annually. Skills are usually developed on the job, with experienced employees training new hires.

With these advantages, Zhejiang was able to export 1.1 billion scarves in 2011, contributing 63 percent to the national total. Revenue reached $1.2 billion, representing 45 percent. Volume increased 10 percent YoY, while value jumped 32 percent. Double-digit growth on both terms was also achieved between 2009 and 2010.

The average unit price is $1.05, 20 percent higher than 12 months earlier. Rising production costs and overhead, and the appreciation of the yuan are the factors driving up quotes.

Nevertheless, rates in the hub are 40 percent lower than the mean value for the whole country. This is because the majority of output consists of low-end, promotional designs, including woven and knitted pieces made of acrylic, polyester and other synthetic fibers. Cellulosic textiles represented 9 percent of last year’s shipments.

In terms of manufacturing method, woven models account for 60 percent of shipments. The rest is for knitted and crocheted styles. Despite the prevalence of less expensive pieces, upscale items are still available. Silk and cashmere variants from suppliers in Zhejiang, in fact, can reach $15 and $47, respectively.

Click here to read the complete article on Global Sources.

Note: This article "Zhejiang scarf suppliers thrive on fiber stock, infrastructure" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through e-magazines and trade shows

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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