After running a cotton textile business for more than a century, the executives at Qingdao Textiles Group in Qingdao, China, have learned to read the proverbial tea leaves. And what Bu Fan Li, the company’s vice general manager, sees is an industry that holds great potential for success … provided we all learn to work together.
Cotton International visited Qingdao Textile Group to get a better understanding of how this visionary company foresees for the cotton and textile industries in the near future.
Cotton International: How do you foresee the competition between cotton and synthetics changing in the near future? Will cotton be able to recapture its lost market share?
Bu Fan Li: The future will depend on demand, of course, and demand creation. I think products that combine both cotton and synthetics are the key. In China, I think demand will be very good.
For cotton to regain market share globally, we have to come together as an industry. It is impossible to succeed otherwise. It has been challenging the past few years, but I think we are missing connections in the supply and distribution chain that can help us look at potential issues in the market and adjust to them before the situation gets too challenging to overcome.
We can’t control everything, but I believe that if work together more effectively, everyone will see the path to success more clearly. For our company, it has helped us to invest and build businesses in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Cotton International: Has the market volatility of the last few years changed the way mills purchase their raw materials, and how has that affected the way they run their businesses?
Bu Fan Li: For us, diversification is the key to success. It has been our strength for many years, and I think it is critical to the future success of cotton mills – not just in China, but around the world. We have a very strong research department and are constantly looking for new products, new ways to combine yarns and satisfy our customers’ needs. Currently, we have blended cotton yarn with wool, seaweed fiber, and modal/cotton, and are always researching new products. This helps us decide when we need to purchase raw materials, and gives Qingdao Textiles Group a balanced approach to the market. We can mitigate risk-taking by being diversified in our product offerings. As a textile mill, you must be ready for any situation, and know how it will affect your company locally and globally.