Chinese Review

China's role in the global textile industry
by Professor Dr. Noor Ahmed Memon, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education.

The Chinese economy grew by 6.9% in 2017, compared with 6.7% a year earlier, according to official data, marking its slowest growth since 1990. China is a key driver of the global economy and a slowdown in growth is a major concern for investors around the world. China is the world's second largest importer of both goods and commercial services, meaning its economic performance has a significant impact on the global economy.

China’s position in global textile industry

Asia-Oceania is estimated to be the largest market for textile machinery defined by a marked shift in demand from traditional machinery to more advanced technologies. Major factors driving growth in the textile machinery market include economic recovery post-recession, rising demand for nonwoven disposable textile products, increasing demand from emerging regions, especially Asia-Pacific, and rising demand for environmentally-friendly fibres.

China is still one of the biggest machinery manufacturers in the global textile arena.  The Chinese industry has obvious advantages in the cotton spinning technology, equipment for the polyester industry, nonwovens and textile processing.

 Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China specifies that the percentage of high-tech products should increase in sales from the existing to 60% and the proportion of research and development fund of high-tech products in total corporate sales should increase from the original 2% to 5% each year.

At present, China-made textile machinery and equipment account for 80% of domestic textile machinery market.

China is clearly focusing more on technical textiles and the use of high tech automation in textile manufacturing, hence machinery for those industries will move towards China. 

In 2017, the revenue from the main business of the textile machinery industry reached 114.927 billion yuan, up 9.64% year on year and increased by 9.13% over the same period of the previous year. The textile machinery industry witnessed a total profit of 8.363 billion yuan in 2017, rising by 23.11% over the same period of last year.

In 2017, the textile machinery industry achieved total fixed assets investment of 26.43 billion yuan, down 11.76% year on year, respectively lower than the manufacturing sector (4.8%) and the textile industry (5.21%).

In 2017, China Textile Machinery Association conducted a survey of key enterprises The results showed that the total turnover of the sector was 40.195 billion yuan, up 7.51% year on year and 5.88 percentage points compared with the same period of last year, accounting for 42.39% of the total textile machinery industry. The total profit reached 5.799 billion yuan, a decrease of 2.38% year on year, accounting for 85.53% of the industry. The loss lowered by 35.92% year on year to 39 million yuan, while the scale of loss reached 13.64%.

Imports: . According to the Chinese Customs, the import and export of China’s textile machinery were totalled US$ 6.965 billion in 2017 with a year-on-year increase of 25.47%. The exports increased by 15.41% year on year to US$ 3.439 billion while the imports amounted to US$ 3.526 billion, soaring 37.13% year on year.

The total imports from 61 countries and regions in 2017  total US$ 3.526 billion, an increase of 37.13% year on year. Imports of textile machinery during 2017 are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Imports of Textile Machinery - 2017
                                                                   Value : US$ 000


Total Value

% of Total

 Auxiliary Device and Accessory Parts.

834,104 23.66

 Spinning Machinery.

747,367 21.20

 Knitting Machinery.

488,611 13.86

 Dyeing, Printing and Finishing Machinery.

469,408 13.31

 Weaving Machinery.

459,937 13.05

 Chemical Fiber Machinery.

400,511 11.36
 Nonwovens Machinery. 125,775 3.57
 Total 3,525,715 100.00

  Source: China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.

In 2017, the major countries and regions of textile machinery import were dominated by Japan, Germany, Italy and Belgium. The top five saw trade volumes of US$ 2.848 billion, up 38.20% year on year, accounting for 80.77% of the total. The statistics regarding imports of textile machinery by major countries are given in  Table 2.

Table 2: Imports of Textile Machinery
(Main Countries)
                                                                   Value : US$ 000

 Country or Region

Total Value

% of Total


1,078,905 30.60


1,048,801 29.75


388,027 11.01


173,102 4.91

 China Taiwan

159,063 4.51

 Other countries

577,817 19.23
 Total 3,525,715 100.00

  Source: China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.

The imports from Japan ranked first, which amounted to US$ 1.079 billion, up 57.12% year on year, of which: spinning machinery saw a trade volume of US$ 258 million, soaring 48.47% year on year.

The imports of textile machinery from the EU accounted for more than 80% of total trade volume, while the imports amounted to US$ 1.891 billion, an increase of 32.61% year on year. Specifically, the auxiliary equipment and spare parts showed a trade volume of US$ 561 million, up 5.28% year-on-year, accounting for 29.68%.

Thirty provinces and autonomous regions all over the country saw different figures of imports during 2017. Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shanghai and Shandong provinces and cities ranked the top five, accounting for 78.64% of total imports. Jiangsu Province ranked first with total imports of US$ 1,038 million, an increase of 41.21% year on year, accounting for 29.25%. Table 3 shows the imports of textile machinery in the top five provinces and cities.

Table 3: Imports of Textile Machinery - 2017
(Top Five Regions)
                                                                   Value : US$ 000

 Province or City

Total Value

% of Total


1,038,298 29.45


633,982 17.98


592,789 16.81


264,459 7.50


243,074 6.89

 Other countries

753,113 21.36
 Total 3,525,715 100.00

  Source: China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.

Exports: The Chinese textile machinery witnessed total exports of US$ 3.439 billion in last year, an increase of 15.41% year on year. The exports of China textile machinery are given in Table 4.

Table 4: Exports of China Textile Machinery - 2017
                                                                   Value : US$ 000


Total Value

% of Total

 Knitting Machinery.

1,041,990 30.30

 Dyeing, and Finishing Machinery

683,860 19.89

 Auxiliary equipment and spare parts

620,475 18.04

 Spinning Machinery

416,448 12.11

 Weaving Machinery

361,104 10.50
 Chemical fiber Machinery 191,747 5.58
 Nonwoven Machinery 123,377 3.59
 Total 3,525,715 100.00

  Source: China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.

Knitting machinery exports amounted to US$ 1.042 billion, up 13.26% year on year, accounting for 30.30%, ranking first, followed by dyeing and finishing machinery, auxiliary equipment and spare parts, spinning machinery, weaving machinery, chemical fibre machinery and nonwovens machinery.

In 2017, China’s textile machinery was exported to 181 countries and regions. The top five major trading partners and regions are shown in Table 5.

Table-5: China Major Trading Partners of
Textile Machinery - 2017
                                                                   Value : US$ 000

 Country or Region

Total Value

% of Total


678,807 19.74


384,132 11.17


323,645 9.41


183,033 5.32

 United States

169,153 4.92

 Other countries

1,700,230 49.44
 Total 3,439,000 100.00

  Source: China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.

Future Prospects

Rapid industrialization and subsequent economic development in China over the last decade have contributed to a significant rise in Asian textile production. The market for textile machinery is dynamic, shifting from conventional to much more sophisticated machines due to constant technological advancements. An increasing market demand for home textiles, furniture upholstery, automobile textiles, and fashion trends also affect the demand for textile machinery.

In 2017, the Chinese textile machinery industry benefited from the continuous recovery of the global economy, the stable growth of the domestic macro economy, the overall stable operation of the textile industry, and the recovery of the international and domestic textile market demand, overcoming the unfavourable factors such as the large increase in factor costs. The main business income and profit of the textile machinery industry grew by a large margin, and the import and export trade volume showed a double-digit growth. After the export value of textile machinery products fell slightly in 2015 and 2016, the export value in 2017 reached a record high.

In 2018, the demand for equipment renewal and upgrading in the domestic market of textile machinery will be further released. In the international market, with the accelerated pace of industrial transfer in the textile industry and the steady progress of the “Belt and Road” initiative, the textile machinery industry is still expected to continue to function smoothly.


  1. Global textile machinery market may reach $23 billion by The China Textile Magazine-2017.
  2. Research and Markets: World Markets for Textile Machinery.
  3. Status quo of Chinese textile machinery industry in 2017-China Textile Machinery Association. March 27, 2018.


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