In south-eastern Asia, the coronavirus (COVID 19) epidemic is devastating. In Southeast Asia, disturbances in the transportation and supply chain are increasing. Uniqlo shipments were delayed by approximately two weeks from the suppliers in Vietname. Uniqlo has pushed a few new product lines back on its launch already. Clothing manufacturers still rely on China, Asia’s largest raw materials economies, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar–for example 60% of the materials used in Vietnam-sewn goods are manufactured in China. More than 60 per cent of raw materials for Cambodia’s apparel industry come from China. These garment makers have become increasingly important to global fashion brands. May 10, a supplier for brands such as Gap and Tommy Hilfiger, imports 50 per cent of raw materials from China and is facing difficulties meeting March and April orders. Saigon 3 Garment, which produces for Uniqlo and Nike, has only enough materials for production until March.
Textile production is more capital intensive than sewing, and China remains dominant in material production even as brands diversify their manufacturing bases. Factories in China are operating at a reduced rate due to staff shortages caused by restrictions on movement of people.
The virus ‘ effect is likely to have a legacy on how businesses can emerge from it in the future. Having yarn / fabric / product finishing all finished domestically would reduce potential risks for the global material supply.