Malaysia’s textile industry can bounce back, say German industrialists

Several German exhibitors at the Techtextil & Texprocess 2019 international trade fair believed that Malaysia’s textile industry, seen by many as a sunset industry, can reassert its position in the global markets.

Helmut Gottzmann, an indenting agent near Frankfurt, said Malaysia can benefit from the US-China trade war, which has led some manufacturers to leave China for such countries as Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and even Ethiopia.

“As long as China continues to offer cheaper and low-end textiles, other countries with higher labor and production costs will find it difficult to compete even though they produce better quality material.

“However, China’s production and labour costs have risen sharply over the years. The trade friction with the US has provoked a migration by some manufacturers out of China to countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and even Ethiopia.

Sascha Dehl, director of product and innovations at Veit GmbH, a Bavaria-based company which supplies “smart machines” for the textile and garment industries, said that among their major markets in Asia are Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

He said his company’s products have been sought after by textile manufacturers from several Asian, African and Latin American countries because they cut production and labor costs.

Some of the features of the machines, he said, provide maximum protection for workers, shielding them from heat transfer. “Given the uncertainties that presently characterise global trade, Malaysia can bounce back in textile manufacturing because of the superior quality of its products,” he said, adding that the shortage of workers can be replaced to a not insignificant level by automation, “which is key to our future survival”.

Dietrich Eickhoff, chairman of DA Group of Kaiserslautern, said the company serves the entire value chain of the textile industry through its innovative machines, technology, and digitalization. He said their latest product, Delta, is equipped with Industry 4.0 features. “Delta is not just a sewing machine, it is revolutionizing the sewing process. Delta has the capability to communicate with the operator, making the latter more efficient.

“Such a system would be most appropriate for countries with labor shortage like Malaysia. It will be a perfect fit for the country’s textile, automotive and aerospace industries. “Malaysia and Indonesia are very important. Indeed, Asean is an opportunity as well as a challenge for us,” he said.


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