According to a report issued by Tokyo Shoko Research, 110 Japanese companies went bankrupt last year citing the challenges of doing business in China. Among these companies, the worst hit industry was apparel, which reported 54 bankruptcies – nearly half of the 110.
Sadayoshi Tamura, a spokesman for the Japan Textile Federation, admitted that increasing costs in China have hurt member companies’ operations, but some companies that declared bankruptcy in China went on to raise fresh capital and set up new manufacturing facilities in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, where wages are still relatively low.
Investments in Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry are growing, even as the TPP is being reworked without the US. Despite a slowdown, China still remains Vietnam’s largest trade partner.
Vietnam’s Phong Dien Scavi Company is building an industrial centre specializing in textile and garment at the Phong Dien Industrial Park Hue City. The facility is expected to be in operation in the second quarter of 2017, bringing together various segments involved in textile production such as feedstock, fabric accessories, design, fashion illustration, and finally production of large volumes of finished products for exports. This project is expected to scale up the country’s textile and apparel sector and attract foreign investment as many foreign apparel manufacturers are keen to invest in the Vietnamese textile industry where there are specialized models. The US tops markets for Vietnamese garment and textile with revenue of nearly US $ 1.08 billion, up 5.8% year-on-year, followed by Japan with US $ 253 million, and South Korea with US $ 215 million.
Cambodia’s US $ 6 billion garment industry continues to dominate its industrial profile, accounting for over 10% of GDP and providing 600,000 jobs. Around 600 factories in Cambodia produce clothing and shoes for major brands such as H&M, Adidas and C&A.
Myanmar, a fast evolving apparel manufacturing hub in the region, is also witnessing a spate of investments. New factory sites are to be released within the Thilawa Special Economic Zone before the end of 2017. Experts, however, are urging the country’s textile and apparel industry entrepreneurs and international buyers to address the issues of worker’s rights as the apparel industry, here, is expected to create over a million new jobs by 2024.