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Viewpoint | July 2016

Innovation is our core strength

Taiwan’s textile and apparel manufacturers previously struggled to overcome the twin hurdles of a changing global market and the widely held perception that they were no longer a viable option for textile production.

But support from Taiwan, coupled with the development of an array of exciting products, has brought these firms back from the brink, repositioning them for what many believe will be the dawn of a long-term era of niche market opportunities, particularly in the field of technical textiles.

Taiwan’s textile industry stands out in R&D, aiming at the combination of fashionable, functional and eco-friendly textiles. Taiwan’s textile industry’s production value, manufacturer number and the employees all reveal a decline phenomenon in the past 10 years. The production value of textile in Taiwan was NT$444 billion in 2013, down 19.5 per cent from NT$552 billion in 2004.

The manufacturers in 2013 were 4,379 units, down 12.8 per cent from 5,024 units in 2004. There was a decline in employment from the number of 1,76,944 in 2004 to 141,090 in 2013, down 20.3 per cent. Taiwan's textile industry upgrading gradually from labour-intensive to technology-intensive and transformed into capital-intensive.

Taiwan’s functional textiles market has invested a lot of resources in textile technology innovation. Today, they produce fabrics, which are anti-bacteria, water repellent, and moisture transferring, amongst others. The composites industry is one of the key industries in Taiwan and has been in development in Taiwan for the past 60 years and hence, the Taiwan composite industry possesses a unique status in the composites world. Taiwan stands fourth in the world in the carbon fibre capacity and 30 percent of electronic grade glass fibres are manufactured in Taiwan.

“The Indian industry – functional, technical and composite – is growing at a great pace. India’s technical textile industry is expected to grow at a rate of 20 per cent annually to touch $30 billion over the next five years.

The Indian composite industry is pegged at $2.2 billion with an expected growth of 15 per cent per annum over the next four years. The need of the hour for Indian manufacturing is quality, reliability and consistency. India’s growing requirements in Meditech, Geotech, Protech and Agrotech, for industries like automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, oil and petroleum, among others, of ease of doing business and technology integration will further propel growth in technical textiles sector. Taiwan is one of the very few suppliers in the world who can fulfill the above criteria and help the industry grow exponentially”, said Sean Tsai, Overseas Market Development of Taiwan Textile Federation. In an exclusive interaction with the ITJ, Sean Tsai shares about his experience in Technotex and what Taiwanese companies has to offer to the Indian industry.

Excerpts.

How was your experience at Technotex from the Indian visitors?

In terms of technical textile, majority is doing packing textile and shoe textile. Export market can accept a little higher price, domestic is lower. However, we see buyer is accepting higher and higher class of technical textiles each year.

What exactly the Taiwanese company can offer to the Indian industry?

Total textile export to India is close to $225 million. Taiwanese textile companies’ strength is our innovations in terms of technology, design and marketing:

  • Technology: Supported by sufficient talents in textile and related industry, such as petro chemical, plastic, machinery, etc.
  • Design and marketing: Taiwanese design ability is able to quick response to global market trend.

What type of associations the Taiwanese companies want to have with the Indian companies?

Taiwan is seeking for supply chain corporation. Taiwan is able to help Indian manufactures to add values to it final products.

What are the USP, competencies and advantages the technical textile and composite industry in Taiwan have over their global competitors?

The total export value of 2015 is close to $11 billion.

Which are the countries where the Taiwanese companies have edge over others?

Taiwan has its strength in technology and design development over China, South East & South Asia countries. Also being price competitive compare with Korea and Japan.

What do you think about the future of technical textiles and composites in India ? What will be the strategies the Taiwanese companies to corner Indian market in the future?

India’s competitive strength is the labour force and textile background. Taiwanese fabrics/materials can help adding value to the end product. Taiwan is seeking supply chain cooperation.

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