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A year and a half on from the start of the pandemic, what’s changed in China’s market?

7 Jul 2021

On-the-ground observations from spring 2021: As China’s economy firmly bounces back and the country’s trade fairs are back in full swing, the textile market is observing an apparent increased demand for sustainable and innovative products, fuelled by pandemic-related trends.

A glance at the 2021 Spring Edition

Over the past year, Intertextile Apparel has continued to connect the industry with the Spring Edition in March 2021 welcoming nearly 2,600 exhibitors from 17 countries and regions, along with 80,553 buyers.

The fair’s All About Sustainability and Functional Lab in particular remain as popular as ever, with sustainability and innovation at the forefront of many Chinese buyers’ minds. What’s more, whilst many businesses have been restricted by travel limitations, Intertextile has introduced hybrid and online solutions to enable participation for overseas companies. More details about the hybrid exhibition options can be found at the end of this report. 

Innovation and pandemic-related trends in the spotlight

Quality over quantity and a demand for new, unique products are the reported stand-out changes from the past year. Accompanied by an increased popularity for pandemic-related products such as anti-bacterial, hygiene-focused and sustainable fabrics and solutions, the Chinese market has observed several shifts since the start of the pandemic, posing greater opportunities for innovative suppliers.

Messe Frankfurt spoke with fairgoers at Intertextile Apparel’s Spring Edition about their experiences and thoughts on the latest trends and changes in China’s market. 

At the popular Taiwan Pavilion, Mr Tianzhong Dong, Vice President of Hua Mao Nano-Tech Co Ltd observed a strong demand for their innovative products: “Our pavilion is quite crowded because everyone is looking for new and interesting products. Because of the pandemic, anti-bacterial, anti-virus and other health concepts are popular. Also, environmental protection is certainly a hot topic, including recycled, sustainable and organic products. I think China's demand for interesting and unique products moves very fast; every year people want something new, pushing us to make changes in raw materials, to create new selling points, and to develop our fabrics, packaging and publicity.”

Also exhibiting at the Taiwan Pavilion, Mr Robert Wang, Senior Manager of Wedtex Industrial Corp explained a shift in their market strategy, owing to consumer behaviour trends and changes: “In the past we may have focused more on ‘quantity’, now I believe we will slowly focus more on ‘quality’.”

More exhibitor insights

“Within the industry, this is a professional show and people want to come and see what's new. So far this year we have noticed more people will order small quantities, unlike before. They will also order more patterns, brands and categories. In terms of consumer trends, people are now paying more attention to the functional fabrics, such as anti-bacterial and renewable products, which I think will prove to be even more popular in the future.”

“Our company has been participating for more than 10 years and this year we have brought chic, traditional British wool products to exhibit, but we’ve also introduced colours that are more favourable to Chinese customers. These kinds of fabrics are rare in the market and have been sought after by many customers during the pandemic.”

“Basically, domestic customers who want to find European imported fabrics will come to Intertextile. The pandemic has accelerated consumers' high requirements for product quality and they are more concerned about product safety. This year companies are also relatively more open to invest in comparison to last year.”

Buyers' observations

One of China’s largest fashion brands, Ellassay Fashion, attended the show to source for the upcoming season and discussed their company direction towards sustainability. “As the whole world is paying more attention to environmental protection, our company is focusing on sustainably developed products. In fact, our company’s chairman raised a very important strategic goal for this year, which is to achieve sustainable development, and we even hired a world renowned sustainable development consultant.”

“Although there are fewer overseas exhibitors, the overseas hall still gathered high-quality suppliers from Korea, Japan, the UK and other regions. Through the fair’s new Hybrid Showcase display area, I even discovered a high-quality fibre supplier, Sateri. I’m very interested in their sustainable Lyocell and EcoCosy fabrics. As the industry is paying more attention to regenerated, natural, eco-friendly and protective products, I also observed that more suppliers are beginning to invest in sustainable products. I think these trends are bound to be the future direction of China’s market.”


How does Intertextile support and promote innovation?

As a global textile apparel flagship, fairgoers recognise Intertextile’s reputation as a key platform to discover the very latest trends in the market and utilise the fair as a means to introduce new, innovative products and solutions. The show’s strong influence and comprehensive offering attracts quality buyers and enables international and innovative suppliers to tap into China’s fast-developing market.

Intertextile’s curated product zones connect you with your target buyers to provide the ideal gateway into the Chinese market:

o   Accessories Vision
o   All About Sustainability
o   Beyond Denim
o   Digital Printing Zone
o   Functional Lab
o   Premium Wool Zone
o   Verve for Design

Various country & region pavilions are also available, attracting buyers sourcing quality, innovative and sustainable overseas products. These include SalonEurope, Milano Unica and pavilions from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Germany and elsewhere.

“We are a joint venture with an Italian company specialising in pleated fabrics. We participate at the fair every time because we recognise its results. Our customers are willing to come to visit our booth because of Intertextile’s great influence, so the fair is a bridge between us and our customers, as well as a platform for us to showcase our latest products.”

“Intertextile offers a rich variety of fabrics and gathers many outstanding suppliers in the textile industry, which helps us achieve our sourcing goals easily and efficiently. It has been our most favoured sourcing platform for many years. Through this fair, we have met several exhibitors whom we would like to place orders with.”

Identifying the key presence the fair has within the industry, Ms Fiona Qian, Procurement Specialist at Tongxiang Huiquan Garments Co Ltd in China appreciated the chance to meet with suppliers: “This fair is the most influential platform in the industry, and it is also the industry's benchmark. Some overseas suppliers are still participating in the fair after quarantine. It is really nice to be able to meet them after such a long time. In particular, the products here are very comprehensive, so it is convenient for us to directly touch the fabrics, enquire and place orders on the spot. We value the Intertextile platform very much and cherish the opportunity for face-to-face communication.”

How can you showcase your products and solutions this August?

We’ve got you covered! There are several ways for you to join Intertextile Apparel’s Autumn Edition including in-person, hybrid and online solutions. So no matter where you are in the world, you don’t have to miss out.

o   Exhibit at the fair in-person with a dedicated booth for your company
o   Have your Chinese representatives or branch office attend the fair in-person to manage your company’s onsite booth
o   Join the fair with our Hybrid Exhibition Package – showcase your products onsite and interact with buyers via interactive sourcing and business matching online platforms
o   Haven’t decided yet? Contact us to discuss your options in more detail

Ms Maggie Tse
+852 2238 9963

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition 2021 will be held from 25 – 27 August at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) alongside Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Autumn Edition, Yarn Expo Autumn, CHIC and PH Value.

The fair is co-organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Textile Information Centre.

For more details on this fair, please visit: Information from the international textiles sector and Messe Frankfurt’s textile fairs worldwide can be found at: