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Development of China Sewing Machinery Industry in Past 30 Years

From:Date:2020/07/23 13:59:28

On November 11, 1984, China Sewing Machine Association (the predecessor of China Sewing Machinery Association) was established in Beijing, China, marking a historical milestone in China sewing machinery industry. At that time, China just entered into the reform and opening-up period, everything was to be developed. The establishment of this national association positively affects the healthy development of China sewing machinery industry.

On October 16, 2014, insiders of China sewing machinery industry gathered in Beijing and grandly held a celebration ceremony in memory of the 30th anniversary of China Sewing Machinery Association. They also reviewed the cooperative development history of China sewing machinery industry in the past 30 years.

On that day, the relevant leaders of China National Light Industry Council, China National Textile and Apparel Council, Industry Coordination Division of the National Development and Reform Commission, Research Bureau of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, Division of Consumer Goods Industry and Division of Science and Technology of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China, China National Garment Association, China Home Textile Association, China National Furniture Association, China Leather Association, China Feather and Down Industrial Association, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and China Aviation Industry Corporation, the international peers like Japan Sewing Machinery Manufacturer's Association, Beijing Office of Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, Taiwan Sewing Machinery Industrial Guild, Taiwan Taipei City Stitching Machine Commercial Guild and Taiwan Xinbei City Stitching Machine Commercial Guild, the senior leaders and employees greatly contribute to the sewing machinery industry, the enterprise principals, scientific and technical personnel and friends from all circles, as well as the news media personnel (more than 700 persons in total) attended this celebration ceremony.

Before the celebration ceremony, NAKAMURA Kazuyuki, the President of Japan Sewing Machinery Manufacturer's Association, Günter Veit, the Chairman of Verband Deutscher Maschinen Und Anlagebau and Dave Gardner, the Executive Director of Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers Association had specially sent congratulatory letters to China Sewing Machinery Association.

On the celebration ceremony, 30 excellent entrepreneurs, who had made outstanding contributions to China sewing machinery industry in parts, business and complete machine fields, were honored; 7 enterprises and entrepreneurs (including Qiu Jibao and Zhang Min) who had greatly promoted the industry development, were honored with titles of "Meritorious Enterprise" and "Meritorious Entrepreneur"; 5 senior directors consecutively reappointed were honored with “Outstanding Contribution Award”; 6 downstream industry associations, including China National Garment Association and China National Furniture Association, were honored with “Win-Win Cooperation Award”.

On the ceremony, people of all circles in this industry reviewed the development history over 30 years through pictures and videos, enabling the contemporaries, who are dedicated to creating the new age of China sewing machinery industry, to visually understand the development of China sewing machinery industry, and to receive inspiration and motivation therefrom.

Since the establishment of China Sewing Machinery Association, Chinese society and China sewing machinery industry have changed significantly over 30 years. 30 years ago, Chinese society bid farewell to the planned economy era, turning a new page of market economy. On this occasion, China sewing machinery industry was also developed from the household sewing machine-led stage to the industrial sewing machine-characterized development stage.


The early 1980s witnessed the initial prosperity of China industrial sewing machine production. At that time, Chinese government focused on supporting the development of light textile industry to improve people's living standard, and household sewing machine was quickly developed to a historical peak. In 1982, the national annual output of household sewing machines reached 12.86 million sets (including 337 thousand sets of industrial sewing machines), accounting for 53.3% of the world-wide output at that time. China became the largest country of household sewing machines production. According to statistics of China Sewing Machinery Association, in that year, the quantity of complete sewing machine manufacturers in China was 122, including 54 household sewing machine manufacturers, 66 industrial sewing machine manufacturers, 2 industrial/household sewing machine manufacturers and more than 230 parts and accessories plants. They were distributed in 25 provinces or cities throughout China, forming 4 sewing machine production bases, namely Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shaanxi and Tianjin. Household sewing machine brands like "Feiren", "Butterfly", "South China", "Typical" and "Peony" became famous throughout the country.

However, due to the bias on the development in scale and quantity and the negligence of science and technology input and development and application of new types and new technology, many household sewing machine manufacturers suffered single product and unavailable market competitiveness. In the middle 1980s, along with the advance of the reform and opening-up policy, the national garment, bags and suitcases, as well as shoes and hats industries were boomed; the proportion of ready-to-wear supply of the social garment supply was improved visibly. This change has promoted the flourish of industrial sewing machine product market, greatly driven the development of China industrial sewing machine industry, and accelerated the shrink of household sewing machine market. Thus, the industrial product structure is greatly changed.

In order to promote the healthy development of China sewing machinery industry, industry reformation and adjustment are carried out. Multiple-aspect guidance, ranging from product quality improvement, each management to talent cultivation, is provided for key enterprises in order to strengthen their market competitiveness. Meanwhile, introduction of product, equipment and technology is carried out to improve the technical level of the industry enterprises. For weak enterprises, adjustment, joint operation or production transfer are carried out according to local conditions.

From 1980 to 1990, Shanghai sewing machinery industry established 17 joint operation manufacturers of sewing machines with designated brand in 8 provinces: Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Shandong, Guangxi, Shanxi and Yunnan. The output of various sewing machines was up to 1.165 million sets. During the development process, China Typical Sewing Machine Company (renamed from Shaanxi Sewing Machine Plant) has boldly adopted open type operation mechanism, and arranged operation department in various regions, forming a marketing system characterized by advertisement, product sales, technical service and market condition feedback. As an experimental unit, Guangzhou sewing machinery industry has carried out a system reform of "independent accounting, state taxation, assuming sole responsibility for its profits or losses and introduction of corporate tax" to promote the local industry development. At that time, production and sale proportions of sewing machine in Zhejiang were very small, but benefiting from reform and opening-up, this region formed a garment production market in 1980s, creating conditions for the newly-built sewing machine enterprises. Moreover, being adjacent to Shanghai and under continuous technology and talent introduction, the industry development of sewing machine was very fast.

During the whole 1980s, China sewing machinery industry, through structural adjustment, preliminarily formed a complete industrial sewing machine production system, with the main production still in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shaanxi. During this period, the old-fashioned household sewing machine was developed towards multi-functional electric household sewing machine; the variety of industrial sewing machines was greatly diversified, exceeding 400 types from the 100 types in "the Seventh Five-year Plan" period with over 200 common types. Types like lockstitch sewing machine, overlock sewing machine, flat lock machine and embroidery machine were preliminarily formed, while special industrial sewing machines like buttoning machine, buttonholing machine, blind stitching machine and bag opening machine gained primary production capacity.

In the middle and late 1980s, due to the improvement of parts casting process and immediate casting process, the overall level of industrial casting technology was improved, and the continuous production of modeling, core dropping, pouring and fettling transmission and sand conditioning transmission was realized. Since 1980s, driven by the increase in forging blank demand, the hot stamping process has been developed; the cold stamping process has been successfully applied to rotating hook processing, greatly saving the blank materials and simplifying the processing procedure. In 1990s, Taiwan precise casting enterprises came to the mainland to invest in new plants, applying mature precise casting technology and equipment to the parts production in sewing machine industry. Thus, the precise casting technology in the industry was preferably developed. During the same period, the powder painting process was applied to improve the post-treatment of painting; new process of rare earth addition low chromium acid chroming was also popularized in the industry to improve the abrasion resistance on the surface of parts. Since 1980s, due to the technological development of industrial heat treatment process, bath carburizing and liquid carbonitriding processes have already been extensively used in the heat treatment of various sewing machine parts; the gas carburizing and gas carbonitriding processes has been gradually popularized; the processing center has come into use, and under gradual popularization.


Along with the deepening of reform and opening-up, market economy becomes increasingly vibrant; China sewing machine manufacturers continuously expand the investment, improve the production capacity and raise the output in the industrial sewing machine field. Through large-scale introduction of renovation and transformation, the household sewing machine-based feature of this industry is changed, and the process of transforming to the product restructuring mainly characterized by industrial sewing machine is rapidly completed. In 1993, the output of China industrial sewing machines reached 2.304 million sets, ranking the first in the world. Thereinto, the output value of key enterprises like Shanggong Industrial Sewing Machine Co., Ltd. (the predecessor of Shanggong), China Typical Sewing Machine Company, South China Sewing Equipment Group Corporation, Tianjin Tiangong Sewing Machine Company and Feiyue Sewing Machine Group Corporation accounts for 46.5% of the output value of the national sewing machine industry. At that time, the output value of lockstitch sewing machine and overlock sewing machine accounts for about 78%.

Along with the increasing prosperity of market economy, the private economy is gradually activated and the quantity of foreign-funded and joint ventures is increased. In 1990s, based on dual consideration of production cost and marketing, the international peers began to invest in plant construction in China. These wholly-foreign-funded or sino-foreign joint sewing machine enterprises have improved the production level of China sewing machine parts, and further positively promoted the technological progress of domestic industrial sewing machine. Meanwhile, private sewing machine manufacturers, by virtue of struggling spirit and the mechanism conforming to the market development direction, appeared profusely and quickly, and Zhejiang Taizhou gradually became the largest sewing machine production base. Moreover, along with the deepening of state-owned enterprise reform, old sewing machine manufacturers, like Shanggong and Typical have walked out a new way by being brave enough to reform and actively grasping the development opportunity in the capital market. The state-owned or collective sewing machine manufactures which fail in following the pace of market economy development withdraw from the market.

At the beginning of the 21th century, China sewing machinery industry has more than 300 large complete machine enterprises, and more than 350 part enterprises; the common variety of industrial sewing machines exceeds 600 types. In December, 2001, China formally became a member of World Trade Organization (WTO). This has promoted the rapid development of domestic textile and apparel industry and greatly driven the high speed development of domestic sewing machines. Hereafter, China sewing machinery industry had maintained an overall growth situation before the explosion of the new round of global financial crisis in 2007. In 2007, the industry-wide output of various sewing machines reached 17.80 million sets (including 9.22 million sets of industrial sewing machines), reaching a historical peak.

Since 1990s, the global sewing machine industry has been gradually moved out of Europe, America and Japan. By welcoming the regional transfer of the global sewing machine industry, China sewing machinery gradually becomes the international production and sales center of sewing machines. Promoted by the national export policy on mechanical and electrical products, China industrial sewing machine, of which the product quality and level are improved and the product variety is diversified, has gradually walked into the international market, and won a big share in the international market by virtue of stable quality and cheap price. As early as 1988, the China Sewing Machine Association convened a "Seminar on Foreign Exchange Earning through Export of Sewing Machines"; the reformation of national foreign trade system and the international market created conditions for the export of sewing machines for earning foreign exchange. Hereafter, the foreign exchange earnings through export of sewing machine products has been increased at an average speed of 24.3% per year. The market coverage of the product has also been expanded from countries and regions in Southeast Asia to those in Central and South America, South Africa and Middle East. In 1991, China Sewing Machine Association organized enterprises to participate in the Koln International Apparel Machine Exhibition in Germany, marking the first large international professional exhibition China sewing machinery industry had ever participated with its products. Since 1994, more and more private sewing machine manufacturers go overseas. By 2002, the industry products have radiated more than 150 countries and regions.

After entering into the 21th century, China's status of the world's sewing machine processing center is further strengthened. The first round of technology upgrade is also started in this industry. In the new century, IT and automation technology become mature, the downstream industries, like textile and apparel, receive more demands in product performance and function. The industry implements the development of mechatronic products in season. In 2002, Feiyue took the lead in launching the first domestic industrial sewing machine servo control system in the industry. In 2003, PowerMax was established and devoted itself into sewing machinery industry. It has suffered a lot of hard works and developed multiple generations of products, promoting the development of industrial mechatronic products. From lockstitch sewing machine to overlock sewing machine and flat lock machine, the computer control technology is used in more and more sewing machine types. From 2002 to 2004, this industry formed a small high tide of special sewing machine development, and many special sewing machines appeared in a short period of time. However, limited by the development level of relevant core technology, many products failed in mass production. Hereafter, domestic enterprises and overseas peers increased their cooperation in R&D of special sewing machines. For example, in 2004, Dafuji and Duerkopp successfully developed 558 eyelet buttonholing machine through cooperation; in 2006, Typical produced the TC129J pattern sewing machine through cooperation with Italy JAM Company, and the BASS 3200 automatic developer through cooperation with Germany ASS. Now, the sewing unit characterized by intelligence and high efficiency becomes the main development direction of industrial sewing machine product in China sewing machinery industry.

Further information

Through the efforts of several generations, China independent industrial sewing machine production system is quickly established; localization of industrial sewing machine is quickly promoted on the basis of introduction, digestion and absorption; localization of special sewing machines is gradually realized, and systemized, unitized and intelligentized garment production equipment appears continuously.

Over the past 30 years, the industrial production is developed from rough manual assembly to advanced assembling line, enclosure processing line, coating line, numerical control processing equipment and complete machine processing center. The annual output of China sewing machines has already accounted for more than 80% of the total output in the world. China sewing machinery provides more than 95% parts and accessories in the world, with products exported to more than 170 countries and regions.

Though China sewing machinery industry has obtained great achievements, it still has a long way to go due to the changing economic environment. Especially after the exploration of new monetary crisis in 2008, the global economic structure is further adjusted and the transformation of Chinese society is accelerated; China sewing machinery industry also enters into a new development stage.

The year 2007 witnesses a historical peak of China sewing machinery industry. Hereafter, China sewing machinery industry bids farewell to the fast development and enters into a slow development period. The industry enters into the deep water period of adjustment and upgrade, market fluctuation becomes the normal state. How to promote the sustainable development and realize the "Power Dream" of China sewing machinery industry becomes the new subject.

A common view has been reached within China sewing machinery industry: the next development of the industry enterprises must rely on independent innovation and industrial upgrading, especially the innovation-driven industry development, covering all aspects like technology, management and marketing.

Since 2014, several famous enterprises have stepped into a development predicament, and many sales promotions appear on the market, revealing the change of industrial structure from another perspective. For enterprises of China sewing machinery industry, it is imperative to follow the economic development trend for survival of the fittest.

Through the development over the past 30 years, the production of China industrial sewing machines is strengthened; the product variety is greatly diversified, and the product technology closely follows the development trend of global sewing machinery. The R&D capacity, production capacity and market competitiveness of the enterprises are greatly improved. It may be said that the current China sewing machinery industry has basis to implement a new round of crossing and realize overtaking around the curve.

Hot technologies, like internet, mobile internet and IOT become mature and are gradually applied to traditional manufacturing industry. China sewing machinery industry takes advantage of this trend, and tries every means to provide more advanced solutions and more all-round services for the downstream industry by using new technologies. In general, China sewing machinery industry will, based on the science and technology, clench the main line of advance of science and technology, continuously improve the product and technical level, actively expand the market and service the downstream industry in further level.