The Development Trajectory of China’s Modern Textile Industry

The textile industry plays a crucial role in China’s industrialization process, a fact that cannot be ignored. I am more than willing to introduce to you the origin of the Chinese textile industry and how it has experienced concentrated growth in the coastal and riverside regions. The development of this field is an essential component of China’s economic progress, providing employment opportunities for many and making significant contributions to the country’s socio-economic development. Let’s explore this fascinating topic together!

The Beginnings of China’s Modern Textile Industry

China’s textile industry initially gained success through the promotion of imported cotton yarn. Surprisingly, it was not the processed cotton fabric but rather the primary product, cotton yarn, that became popular. This was mainly because the labor productivity of machine-woven cotton fabric was not significantly different from that of handmade cotton fabric at the time, while the difference between machine-spun cotton yarn and handmade spun yarn was more significant. Therefore, in the early modern period of China, the development speed of yarn factories was faster than that of weaving factories, and the market share of machine-spun cotton yarn was wide, which determined the prosperity of early yarn factories.

Greater China yarn mill in 1922
“DaZhongHua” yarn mill in 1922

Concentrated Development in Coastal and Riverside Regions

China’s modern textile industry experienced significant growth in bustling cities along the coast and rivers. Even after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, these regions continued to thrive in textile production. However, attempts to develop the wool textile industry near wool-producing areas faced numerous obstacles and yielded limited results. Several reasons contributed to this:

  1. Developed regions had convenient transportation, facilitating easy importation of foreign equipment.
  2. Developed regions had dense populations with higher levels of consumer spending, providing a large and centralized market for textiles.
  3. Developed regions possessed a relatively complete set of related industries, making it easier to address technology-related issues and procure machine parts and dye chemicals.
  4. Developed regions had frequent external contacts and smooth information flow, enabling production that better met market demands.
  5. Developed regions had a larger pool of talented employees with higher skill levels and better grasp of technology.
  6. Developed regions benefited from lower transportation costs due to convenient transportation.
  7. Hand-woven textile industry was also relatively developed in these regions.

Development Paths of Different Textile Industries

While the textile industry in modern China initially focused on silk and wool textiles, the cotton textile sector emerged and rapidly became dominant. Despite starting earlier, the wool and silk industries faced challenges and experienced troubled development. Even after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, these industries remained relatively small and encountered significant difficulties. This demonstrates that the growth of consumer goods industries depends on people’s living standards. As people’s living standards improve, their demands gradually evolve from lower to higher levels. Initially, when people’s primary needs revolve around clothing, mass production of cotton textiles catering to lower-level demands sees development. On the other hand, silk and wool textile industries, producing high-quality fabrics to meet higher-level demands, face limited markets and difficulties. Only as people’s living standards gradually improve does this situation begin to change.


In summary, China’s modern textile industry originated from the successful promotion of imported cotton yarn. Concentrated in coastal and riverside regions due to advantages such as convenient transportation, dense population, related industries, and a talent pool, this industry thrived. Our company, Shenzhen Unimbus Gift Pack Co., Ltd., is a member of these companies that have grown in coastal cities. We are a professional manufacturer specializing in gift bags, shopping bags, cosmetic bags, and other custom packaging. If you are interested in our products, please feel free to contact us.


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