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Growth is afoot.

According to a recent report issued by Reuters, the world economy is on track for its best performance since 2000 and is expected to grow 4.6% this year. This growth is being attributed to an improved employment market in the U.S., better-than-expected performance by Japan and Chinese growth. Expansion will continue on a slightly slower pace in 2005 when the economy is projected to increase 3.9% as Chinese growth slows.

What is interesting in this report is the evidence of how important a role Chine plays in the global economy. Already the world's second largest consumer of oil, China has emerged in recent years as major force on the planet. While its rapid growth rate is expected to slow down in upcoming years--which is not unusual for a quickly growing country--its huge population and emerging infrastructure will hold its place among the world's major players.

The effect China's rise will have on the global economy is still up for debate. Already much of the U.S. textile market has migrated there; so has production of many electronics. China is praised for its ability to offer low production costs but criticized for lower quality and confidentiality problems. Therefore, many manufacturers have been reluctant to move there.

So far in nonwovens, most western companies recognize China's importance but few operate there. Could that change in upcoming years as more companies build lines and set up factories in China or will the nonwovens in China remain a self-sufficient industry with local roll goods companies producing nonwovens for local end use manufacturers on machinery made by local builders? It would be a shame for existing manufacturers to miss out on all that capacity.
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Author:Bitz, Karen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 1, 2004
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