Many businesses have diversified their sourcing after more than three years of global supply chain disruptions. Although China remains the leading apparel exporter globally, manufacturing powerhouses like Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh continue to be key players in the industry, and new alternatives like Cambodia and Myanmar are emerging. Called industrial hubs, these clusters of production and economic activity enjoy a competitive edge over other manufacturing areas around the world. They are more competitive, innovative, and often more collaborative, with highly-specialized firms offering complementary services located nearby. They also usually enjoy more financial investment and support from their respective governments.
Key apparel industrial hubs
Vietnamese exports have bounced back despite ongoing disruptions to supply chains caused by COVID-19. While wages are a little higher than in places like India and Bangladesh, they are still much lower than in China. Productivity is high as well, with skilled, trained workers able to utilize intricate manufacturing techniques and flexible manufacturing processes to produce high-quality garments. Strong infrastructure and logistics networks also allow suppliers to offer shorter lead times, with Vietnam known for having one of the fastest speed-to-market rates. In addition, many suppliers offer low MOQs and full-package solutions, making it a good choice for smaller-sized businesses. International buyers can enjoy lower duties and tariffs through free trade agreements, such as the EU-Vietnam FTA signed in 2020.
- Click here to learn more about Vietnam’s economic outlook for 2023.
Bangladesh is a top fashion exporter, only second to China. Boasting lean manufacturing systems and high-volume production, labor costs are low, and raw material supply is stable thanks to its strong cotton-producing capabilities. For those sourcing ready-to-wear staples like dress shirts and pants, jackets, denim, and knitwear, Bangladesh may be the best choice, with its competitive pricing, on-time delivery, and reliable product quality. The industry has also prioritized innovation, value-added manufacturing, and environmental concerns in its production. In fact, Bangladesh has the most Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green factories in the world.
Lastly, ready-made garments from India are also cost-effective due to low labor and raw material export costs. The world’s largest producer of cotton, it makes many types of natural fibers in addition to synthetic fibers and technical textiles. India’s stable supply of raw materials, as well as its long history of textile production, make it a leader in various types of manufacturing techniques and technologies. It can produce a wide variety of products for buyers from any country. And it’s also increasingly easier to access – the India-Australia FTA, for example, will offer a duty advantage and benefit small- to medium-sized exporters as MOQs are low.
- Click here to learn more about how to find manufacturers from India.
Affordable, diversified sourcing
Overall, industrial hubs like Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India are great sourcing options due to competitive prices, short lead times, and stable raw material supply. The logistics experience from these countries can also prove to be smoother as their trucking, warehousing, and container services are less volatile. With undeniable incentives like low labor costs and duties, standardized product quality, and flexible manufacturing, they offer safe choices for businesses looking for new suppliers. To keep pressure on your business margins down, consider sourcing from these countries or other industrial hubs on Alibaba.com.
How to find industrial hub suppliers on Alibaba.com
There are many ways to find suitable suppliers on Alibaba.com. The easiest way to find industry-specific suppliers is to visit our GGS pavilion here, which features popular apparel suppliers from various industrial hubs. You can also tailor your regular search to include a location filter. Finally, visit the apparel homepage to view featured and trending products or source according to style, category, or certification!
Learn more about regional industrial hubs in China