Bright Future for China's Feather and Down Industry

CHINA - The feather and down industry is enjoying a revival.
calendar icon 14 December 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The Chinese feather and down industry has watched prices rebound to early-2008 levels after hitting a five-year low in the global economic downturn, according to official sources.

"The drastic price plunge devalued my stocks of 90,000 tons by 100,000 yuan (CNY; $14,646.22) in a week at the worst time this year," said Li Fangyi, a duck and goose feather and down supplier in Wuwei county in East China's Anhui province.

The county, which produces 70 per cent of China's feather and down products, earns more than one billion yuan from raising poultry and processing feathers every year.

Mr Li's factory purchases raw feathers and down from local farmers. His main client is Wanlida Co, a big Chinese feather and down products manufacturer.

He explained that he had lost CNY7 million during the business recession in the world market. Bankruptcy of upstream garment makers and cancelled orders forced Wanlida to cut production and close its factory in Xiaoshan in East China's Zhejiang province.

Wanlida's major client, US-based Pacific Coast Feather Co, abruptly cancelled a CNY120-million order placed in August.

"The losses were almost my life savings. I started door-to-door feather collection at the age of 12. When the price fell to a five-year low in the first half of this year, I thought I could only start all over again from the bottom," Mr Li said.

Luckily, prices started to climb in the third quarter, and Mr Li recently received several new orders for 250 tons of feather and down products from clients.

"The county government has exempted feather businesses from a series of taxes and fees, and helped us obtain low-interest loans in order to seize the chance for an industry revival," he said.

He is optimistic about the future of his business, saying he believes the recovery will lead to a boom that could last for at least three years.

"There is a fixed demand for feather and down products in the world market. People in Western countries, in particular, like feather and down quilts and clothes," Mr Li said.

Ji Jianhua, a goose farmer living in the same county as Mr Li, said the new surge in prices led him to plan to increase his flock of geese from 1,300 to 4,000 this year.

China produces 80 percent of the world's supply of down and feathers, of which 90 per cent is from ducks and 10 per cent from geese, insiders said.

Industry sales hit $1.88 billion last year, according to data from the China Feather and Down Industrial Association.

The data also suggested the industrial sales value of leather, fur, feather and related products increased 15.4 per cent year-on-year in October, and 8.4 per cent in the January to October period.

The sales ratio stood at 96.9 per cent in October, down 0.8 per cent from the same month last year.

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