Advanced facilities, vibrant support system strengthen Northeast Socks Textile Industrial Park

This hosiery and underwear souring center from Jilin province thrives on an extensive peripheral network and strong manufacturing capability.

August 04, 2017

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This hosiery and underwear souring center from Jilin province thrives on an extensive peripheral network and strong manufacturing capability.

Computer-generated aerial view of the Northeast Socks Textile Industrial Park

Bolstered by a well-established chain of auxiliary industries and advanced facilities, strong manpower pool and solid government backing, the Northeast Socks Textile Industrial Park has become one of the largest hosiery and underwear sourcing centers in China.

Located in the city of Liaoyuan, also known as China's Socks City, in Jilin province, the hub covers an area of 1.5 million square meters and is home to more than 650 companies, about 60 percent of which are knitting factories. Overall, suppliers here own at least 30,000 sets of advance equipment, including knitting machines imported from Italy, South Korea and Japan.

The industrial park also leverages an extensive network of peripheral industries. These include several factories dedicated to yarn-dyeing, printing, labeling and packaging.

Complementing these benefits is the park's huge workforce, numbering to more than 50,000. In addition, the sourcing center has partnered with China's Ministry of Human and Resources and Social Security in establishing the National College Students' Venture Incubation Demonstration Base, a program geared at training nearly 2,000 students from 36 colleges and universities in preparation for jobs at the hub. The project ensures a steady manpower supply, enabling Northeast Socks to meet deadlines even before and after the Chinese New Year.

Because of this strong manufacturing capability, the industrial park can yield an estimated 2.3 billion pairs of socks annually and generate about $960 million in sales. The hub also produces seamless underwear and silk stockings. It offers logistical services, and has its own power-generation and sewage-treatment facilities.

The industrial park boasts solid design capacity as well. With more than $11 million invested in R&D each year, manufacturers have employed a total of 80 engineers with at least 30 years of industry experience. These designers help ensure product quality. Suppliers provide OBM, ODM and OEM services. Most makers specialize in the last.

There are five companies with direct-export rights in the industrial park. The biggest is Jilin Province Northeast Socks Industry Park Hosiery Knitting Co. Ltd, which boasts 4,000 sets of advanced machines from Italy and South Korea, and is capable of churning out300 million pair every year. The supplier plans to increase annual output to 1 billion pairs in the next five years, hiking its sock-knitting machinery to 10,000 units during the period. The company has passed BSCI, VF, Costco, Puma, Wal-Mart and WRAP audits, and lists adidas, Puma, Fila, Nautica, Reebok, Express, Tommy Hilfiger and Lidl as clients.

One of the disadvantages, however, is the industrial park's location. The area is far from prominent coastal hubs in Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang, which buyers frequent. The center is also 100km away from the nearest airport and is not accessible yet by high-speed trains.

As part of the strategies to address this, Northeast Socks has founded an e-commerce alliance and help build the Liaoyuan Electronic Business Park. This allowed the industrial park to work with several online B2B platforms to extend buyer reach.

The industrial park has laid out plans for expansion in the next few years as well. Coverage is expected to reach 2 million square meters, with total equipment and manpower pool predicted to top 60,000 units and 60,000 employees, respectively. The latter number is foreseen to account for a fourth of Liaoyuan's overall workforce. At the same time, annual output is expected to increase to 5 billion pairs of socks and 600 million pieces of underwear, raking in almost $3 billion in revenue.



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