Taiwan textile firms set sights on Muslim world

Two Taiwanese textile firms have set their sights on the Muslim world, which accounts for about a fifth of the global population, by introducing new technology and innovative designs to appeal to the demographic, market sources said Friday.

The population of the global Muslim world ranges between 1.2 billion and 1.6 billion, the sources said, adding that the two firms have embraced high hopes about the Muslim market and have faith that local technology and designs will attract buying in that segment.

One of the two Taiwanese firms is Rui Yuan Co. (????), which has sent a delegation to demonstrate its products to appeal to potential Muslim buyers at Texworld Paris, one of the most important trade shows for the global textile industry, which kicked off on Sept. 12 and will run through Sept. 15.

The Taiwanese company, which specializes in garments made from functional fabrics, has brought Muslim headscarves to the trade exhibition in Paris.

"A female Muslim owns an average of 40-50 headscarves. They tend to buy new headscarves to replace some of their old ones every two to three months, so we have spotted the tremendous business opportunities in this regard," Rui Yuan executive Li Chih-ming (???) told CNA Friday.

Li said that the company has found many female Muslims in Asia own headscarves which are not good at dispersing heat. He added that his company can use niche technology to develop products made from functional fabrics which keep the wearer cooler.

Li said that Rui Yuan has recruited designers from Malaysia to produce headscarves with special patterns for female Muslims, adding that the new headscarves are expected to allow these female Muslim clients to feel comfortable while wearing them.

"The large Muslim population has strong buying power. To my knowledge, many of them are willing to spend and it is a market which is worth exploring for us," Li said. "Taiwan has technology to produce functional fabrics but many Taiwanese firms simply cater to sports brands, so Rui Yuan is determined to introduce innovative headscarves to female Muslims."

So far, Rui Yuan has started its marketing campaign in the China and Malaysia markets for its female Muslim headscarves.

In addition to participating in Texworld Paris for the first time ever to boost its global visibility, Rui Yuan is planning to extend its reach to the U.K. market in the near future to secure more orders, Li said.

For its part, Universal Textile Co. (????) showcased its "abaya", which is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress commonly worn in the Muslim world, at Texworld Paris. Traditional abayas are black and are made from a large square of fabric which may be draped from either the shoulders or head.

Chen Yi-hsiang (???), a manager with Universal Textile, said that since the Jasmine Revolution, which ousted Tunisia's dictator in 2011, many consumers in the Muslim world have started to favor abayas with more colors and various patterns.

Chen said that customers of Universal Textile have made requests to buy newly designed abayas instead of the traditional low-profile black pattern and the company is trying hard to meet the changing demand.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel