silk industry


silk industry
In recent years, China, with strong support from the government, has become the biggest silk producer in the world, but only in terms of total output and output of raw materials. According to the Foreign Economy Department and the Cocoon and Silk Office of the State Economic and Trade Commission, China’s silk industry has to foster its own brands in order to develop. China can satisfy the needs of the international market in quantity, but not in quality and variety and it has a very limited influence on global prices, even if its output of silk can meet 70–80 per cent of the demand on the world market.
At present, China’s silk industry depends heavily on export (about 80 per cent of China’s silk products are sold on foreign markets). The main concern among Chinese officials is now the disastrous effects the silk industry may face if and when exports drop, as domestic demand still remains limited.
Thanks to joint ventures in the late 1980s and early 1990s with silk giants such as Mantero S.R.L., the industry has already made breakthroughs in technological development in resistance against crushing, shrinking and colour fading, as well in producing printed silk. Most Western companies are totally dependent on Chinese silk producers for raw silk and have been trading it for technology hardware (such as computerized looms) and advanced training. At the same time, Western and especially Italian companies are wary of disclosing their entire know-how to Chinese silk factories and feel threatened by the awareness that China will become a strong silk power by employing these high technologies. However, there are difficulties for the silk industry at present, such as lowering prices for cocoon silk on the domestic market, a decrease in exports, the cancellation of quota controls, and stricter technological requirements from European and American markets.
PAOLA ZAMPERINI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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