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Chinese textile firm Nanshan in Australia to explore Tasmanian wool

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Senior managers from the Nanshan Fabric and Garment Company visited Australia this month to work on joint ventures with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

The Woolmark Company’s general manager for product development and commercialisation Jimmy Jackson said AWI was working with Nanshan to develop new wool textiles.

“Particularly the last four or five years we work very closely together, almost on a daily level,” Mr Jackson said. “Now we’ve got the wool development centre over in Nanshan. “It’s a small pilot plant with sample machines. It means we can try out any new ideas very quickly and very inexpensively.”

Mr Jackson said speed to market was vital for the Nanshan Group. He said the business had diversified from its traditional men’s suiting fabric into fashions for women.

“We’re working on casual finishes,” Mr Jackson said. “We’ve got a new project on superfine in women’s wear going into accessories. We just get together and have a bit of a brainstorm and then put down a project plan. Then our technicians go to their factory and start work.”

The Nanshan pilot plant and woollen mills are at Yantai in Shandong province on China’s east coast. The wool processing business’ annual output of 6,000 tonnes of 14 to 23 micron wool fabric and branded products makes it the third largest wool manufacturer in the world.

The Nanshan delegation spent two days visiting farms in Tasmania, the Ross Wool Centre and a shearing shed near Oatlands.

General director Cao Yiru said the group was innovating to broaden its market with unique textiles and designs. “Men’s suiting is classic, it is not ‘fashion’,” he said. “It’s not fashion but everyone should have one. Wool for women are, for our business, getting more and more fashion, more casual and more relaxed. This is why we started to meet the requirement of the market.”

Nanshan Wool processing mill general manager, Wang Sheng said it was his first visit to Tasmania to see the source of the wool.

“The purpose is to understand the upstream production, how they manage the farm and the history of the farm.,” Mr Wang said. “Then we can talk to our customers to let them know wool, to understand wool. And if it is possible we can set up some direct business links with the growers, if their production can meet our requirements.”

Source: ABC Rural

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