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Luthai Textile Expands Global Reach with First U.S. Office

Luthai Textile Co., Ltd., China’s largest high-grade dyed fabric and shirting company, will open its first U.S. office in a move to grow its global business. The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria New York on Wednesday to mark the occasion.

In an interview with Sourcing Journal, Luthai director and general manager Liu Zibin said that since the U.S. is Luthai’s main market, this is a good time to open an office there and offer clients more convenient service.

“We have a lot of new products and we want to offer new things quickly,” Zibin said, speaking through a translator. “So we set up an office to better understand the different tastes customers have here and to better understand the market.”

The office, which will be well placed in New York’s garment district at 1450 Broadway, is scheduled to open this spring.

The U.S. is Luthai’s largest market, accounting for 35 percent of the company’s business, followed by Europe with 30 percent, and Japan with 20 percent.

“Outstanding service and wide-ranging application know-how have made Luthai a preferred partner for our customers, especially in the U.S.,” Zibin said. “Our U.S. clients are an integral part of the company’s success, and critical to our long-term growth strategy.”

Luthai’s capabilities include cotton planting, spinning, dyeing, weaving, finishing and shirt manufacturing. The company has an annual output of 178 million sq. meters of yarn-dyed fabric, 80 million meters of piece-dyed fabric and 20 million shirts. The company employs 30,000 workers worldwide.

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Luthai’s current client base includes Brooks Brothers, Marks & Spencer, PVH, Li & Fung and Macy’s.

For 2014, Luthai is focusing on more eco-friendly products, Zibin said. They are working on developing shirts without resin finishing and the technology they use to make the revolutionary “stitchless shirts” means they don’t need thread or needles,  yielding a more perfect shirt by using less material, Zibin said. Luthai is also working on finishes that will make shirts less likely to wrinkle.

The New York office opening follows the recent addition of a design center in Milan and a new shirt factory, which opened in Cambodia at the end of 2013. Luthai already operates offices in ShanDong, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but beyond the U.S. opening there are no certain plans for additional offices yet, though that will depend on the needs of the market, Zibin said.

With labor costs increasing in China, and even in low-cost countries, Zibin is not worried that this will affect business or cause increased competition.

“Those countries, like in Southeast Asia, are facing the same issues but they have an even faster increasing labor cost,” Zibin said. “China still has advantages like a strong industry foundation and, for us, we are making adjustments to the structure of our products and improving our management and working efficiency to make costs go down,” he added.

Luthai is looking to increase its international competitiveness in the textile sector and, Zibin said, with this office opening and the company’s other current initiatives, he expects 2014 to be more fruitful and the company anticipates revenue to reach $1.3 billion by year end.