The development of Dongguan Knit Sweater Factory (1980-2022)

First phase: The rise of Hong Kong funded knit sweater factories (1980-1995)

Hong Kong knitwear factories has founded in 1950s. Many capitalists and industrialists who tried to avoid war and moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai and Hangzhou. Hong Kong always took the development path of light industry because it has narrow land and not suitable for the development of heavy industry. However, Europe and Americas executed trade quotas on Hong Kong with the rise of local labor and land cost since the late 1970s. Chinese mainland’s reform and opening up attracted many Hong Kong businessmen. It resulted factories quantities were reduced and most production lines transferred to sGuangdong.

A large number of Hong Kong textile enterprises transferred their factories to Dongguan (such as Jingyuan group, peninsula knitting group, Lixin group, Wantai group, Weixin group, Nanyi group, Nanyang group, etc.) It is mainly distributed in Dalang, Chashan and Changping towns. Most of factories have large quantities of hand knitted machine, professional technicians and managers when they set up factories in Dongguan. The business developed rapidly for decades years.

In the early stage of reform and opening up, more and more Hong Kong factories settled in Dongguan that Dongguan’s factories were developed better and better. It almost had thousands of large-scale knitwear factories in 1995. The hand knitting machine were the engine which promoted Dongguan knit sweater manufacturing business. Many Dongguan local people and Mainland migrant workers worked in knitwear factories in the subsequent years. They were becoming skilled workers under the training of technicians and managers from HK.

Second phase: The development of local private knit sweater factories (1995-2008)

Most of Dongguan locals left factories and set up workshop by themselves depended on the production technology and management experience in the Hong Kong’s enterprises. Dongguan developed thousands of knit sweater factories rapidly. They started bearing outgoing orders from Hong Kong factories. It supported single processing to the operation of the whole industry.

Guangdong yarn market was set up in Dalang in 1995. Knitting streets and knitting villages by private enterprises attracted national famous raw material manufacturer. It had formed a relatively perfect system in sweater production, raw materials, yarns, accessories, machinery, washing, dyeing, printing, embroidery, trade and etc.

Third phase: Technological and production (2008-2022)

Technological innovation was always the importance engine in the development of Dongguan knitwear industry in the change of times. Affected by the global economic crisis in 2008, most of Hong Kong businesses were closed down and exited Dongguan. Workers costs improvement and efficiency improvement were becoming the key to wool factory production. Most of the computerized flat knitting machines in Dongguan enterprises were mainly STOLL and SHIMA machines in 2008. Many woolen enterprises began to upgrading computerized flat knitting machine in 2009. Dongguan has 200 thousand computerized flat knitting machines as of 2022. Among them, there are more than 100,000 sets in Dalang town and more than 50,000 sets in adjacent Changping Town. Dongguan has been formed several “professional streets of computer knitting machine” where were becoming the largest and most concentrated use of computer knitting machine in the world.

Dongguan knitwear companies are about 20,000 as of 2021. The industry population is around 400,000 in Dongguan.

The intelligent artwork software improves the efficiency of artwork writing. The application of ERP system improves the management efficiency.

With the change of customer order trend, the extensive order has been transformed into small and diversify. The orders in Dongguan became to fashion. It was increased difficulty in production management which was demand high-quality and faster delivery.

How to according to the change of customer needs to adjust the production plan and implement the corresponding production adjustment timely. Achieved combination of order production and marketing system. Pay attention to improve machine efficiency at the same time. Arrange production reasonably and effectively to make the use of equipment to maximum benefits. The application of finest production management increases the advantage of market competition.

Advanced machine, technology, finest management and industrial talents laid a solid foundation for the development of Dongguan knit sweater factories. Fine Knitting officially established a knitwear factory in the third phases.

For more than 40 years, it has entered a new stage of development. Integration of digital, information and intelligent technology with textile industry which are promoting the textile industry chain and supply chain to improve quality and efficiency. The new scientific and technological revolution also bring new development opportunities to the knitwear manufacturing industry.

Next: The Impact of the Covid-19 on Knitwear Manufacturing Industry in Dalang Town