29 Aug 2007
Material Benefits(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 09,2007)
Garments & Textiles
|SUMEC Textiles & Light Industry Co Ltd is part of SUMEC Group Corp, a key member of the China National Machinery Industry Corp (SINOMACH)|
The main business scope of SUMEC Textiles involves the manufacture and export of textiles, garments and light industrial products, besides the import of technical equipment and materials used in production. Textile products are mainly jackets, children's wear, general knitwear, pants and shirts.
"We used to be a subsidiary," says assistant general manager Win Woo, "and only became a separate company in 1997. Apart from garments, we have branched into various fabric products for the home textiles sector, such as blankets and bed sheets, in addition to light industrial products and home-related areas such as gardening."
The company produces on a large scale, and the garment side alone brought in US$100m in sales in 2006. There was an equal amount or more in the home textiles line. "This year, our garment business trade has already reached US$140m and we expect to reach a total of US$280m in combined business," Woo adds.
Woo is keen to point out that, with the exception of the QC department, the average age of the company's employees is rather young. "My colleagues are mostly younger executives," he states. "In sales and administration, only 5% are aged above 40. About 60%-70% of the rest are under 30."
QC controllers, however, are usually 40-plus, and have more than 10-15 years' experience. "This is the way it needs to be," Woo says. "The more mature members keep their eyes on the quality, and the youthful and enthusiastic ones do the marketing and sales." In 2006, the firm also employed its first in-house designer. "We have added four more this year as management is set to open new lines of business," Woo adds.
Strategically, SUMEC Textiles operates two separate teams. "One concentrates on our export business while the other focuses on the mainland domestic market," Woo says. "We have a sourcing agent business too, and in the future we intend to start our own-brand business, for which we are close to establishing another design team." He says that the proposed brand name is "Miss Who" and "the first collection is ready".
Placing emphasis on new styles is also very important. "We have new styles for each season, and have compiled a very smart catalogue to send to buyers. The printing was done in Shanghai and we used local models," Woo says.
SUMEC Textiles operates five wholly-owned factories. Four are for the garments business and one is specifically for textiles. The four garment factories employ 3,000 workers, while the textiles arm is still developing with just 200 workers currently.
The combined factory area is in excess of 40,000 square metres. "Our business is so large, though, we have to outsource about 70%-80% of production to a group of approved subcontractors," Woo says.
Two years ago, SUMEC Textiles set up a sample centre. "In future," Woo says, "we will need to recruit personnel to source new fabrics. We will be combining those fabrics with other materials in new designs, and making suitable samples for buyers to promote the line."
As a matter of corporate policy, SUMEC Textiles frequently sends personnel abroad to stay in touch with trends and new developments. "On the Chinese mainland, we attend the Canton Fair and the Shanghai East China Fair," Woo says. "We also go to CPD Dusseldorf and to the Magic Show in the US that caters to the fashion industry."
Apart from that, SUMEC Textiles exhibits at Frankfurt and Tokyo. "Each year, we spend RMB3m on exhibitions and it's worthwhile," Win says. "As for Hong Kong, we come every year without fail, and this time we took 10 booths. Six months ago, we took eight booths at Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer, so it's likely that we will add another 10 booths next time around."
The garments business uses mainly polyester and cotton, all sourced on the mainland. The home textiles lines are mostly polyester. Major markets are the US, Germany, the UK, Denmark and Spain.
With such commitment and rapid expansion, SUMEC Textiles looks destined to become and remain a major player for a long time to come.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
SUMEC Textiles & Light Industry Co Ltd