For over the last two decades fashion industry has grown tremendously as a result of technological advancement and the popping up of new brands (Viziteu & Curteza, 2021). At present, the fashion industry is competitive and requires a new entrant to conduct systematic analysis. Besides, the industry growth is attributed to changing consumer tastes and preferences on the usefulness and quality of fashion products (Son et al., 2017). Also, the development of the fashion industry is attributed to demography as more youths prefer modern and trendy products (Viziteu & Curteza, 2021). The cultural, political, and social factors have impacted the fashion industry positively (Viziteu & Curteza, 2021). For instance, most youths judge others based on their clothing patterns, and some prefer a specific mode of dressing to relay information (Son et al., 2017). Due to the impact of social, cultural, and political aspects on the fashion industry, there is a rise in the number of new collections and designer clothing. This report will analyze the fashion industry in China and Australia and its impact on culture, politics, society, and government regulations. The information will finally provide recommendations to businesses trying to venture into the fashion industry.
The Australian government first relaxed its regulation and policies in 1922, which facilitated international trade boosting its economy (Ki & Kim, 2016). One of the industries that have grown in Australia is the fashion industry (Tuite, 2019). The fashion industry in Australia constitutes men’s and women’s clothing markets, and as of 2008, the menswear clothing market generated revenue in a total of $3.52 billion. The industry grew by 3.9% in the 2004-2008 period (Ki & Kim, 2016). Also, women wear generated $6.7 billion in revenue within the same period and a 5.2% growth (Statista, 2021). As of 2001, the number of retailers in the Australian fashion industry was 10,600 and were majorly located in Perth, Victoria, Sydney, and Brisbane (Son et al., 2017). As of 2020, the number of retailers has increased by over 60% and is widely spread across Australia (Statista, 2021).
The major products sold in the Australian fashion industry are designer wear, industrial workwear, female outwear, children’s clothing, etc. Like any other market, the Australian markets are highly segmented based on demography, body type, income, and lifestyle (Tuite, 2019). The segmentation resulted in increased revenue generated due to consumers spending their income on products that meet their lifestyles. Moreover, the fashion industry in Australia has grown tremendously, and it’s estimated to have employed over 489,000 workers (Tuite, 2019). The most significant percentage of jobs in the fashion industry is the retail sector which employs 170,000 workers (Tuite, 2019). The employment caused by the fashion industry crosses over multiple economic sectors and positively impacts economic growth.
China is another country whose fashion industry has grown tremendously. The Chinese fashion industry is dependent on demography, mainly due to the majority of youths consuming fashion products (Ki & Kim, 2016). Over ten years ago, the Chinese fashion industry turnover was lower than the current fashion turnover. At present, China is the most promising fashion industry globally based on statistics. According to World Bank, China’s fashion industry had grown from $65 billion in 2010 to $400 billion in 2020.
Despite China’s fashion industry’s continuous expansion and growth, several political, social, legal, and economic factors affect business operations. In the case of economic factors, the Chinese government relaxed its policies and state control on the production of products (Samsioe, 2014). The economic reforms aimed to liberalize foreign investments and trade activities (Ki & Kim, 2016). The easing of state control in the economy boosted China’s economic growth. The other benefits of relaxed state control are providing social amenities and infrastructural developments. It is now easier to invest or start up a business in China due to conducive economic aspects such as better inflation rates, relaxed foreign direct investment policies, and better infrastructure.
Before starting up a business in a region, it is critical to understand the rules. The country’s government is responsible for setting up business operations regulations (Ki & Kim, 2016). The government has tried reforming its regulations to make it a preferred destination for investors in China (Samsioe, 2014). Despite relaxing the foreign direct investment regulation, their investors continue to face problems such as unclear legislation and controlling the market behavior (Ki & Kim, 2016). Also, China lacks anti-trust laws, and instead, their laws only govern and control unfair competition to only retailers and ultimately fail to solve the threats faced by producers (Tuite, 2019). Also, the trade principles in China are strong and have weak enforcement strategies. For instance, foreign investors are taxed highly compared to domestic producers, yet the regulations do not specify the taxation of different categories (Samsioe, 2014). Lastly, it’s costly and procedural to conduct the legal business process in China.
Moreover, the political stability in a country plays a significant role in investment in a foreign county. In the case of political instability, a business would likely incur political risk. In the case of the Chinese market, the laws and rules governing the country are made in the people’s congress, and the laws are influenced mainly by the communist party (Ki & Kim, 2016). The enacted laws by the communist party have made foreign businesses operations difficult (Samsioe, 2014). For instance, a political risk of starting up a business in China is a form of governance that comprises local government and central government (Ki & Kim, 2016). A company must seek and secure permission from these governments, and the process is often complicated.
However, for a business to thrive in China, especially in the fashion industry, it must consider the political, social, economic, and legal factors and their impacts. A business should first consider the political stability of the country and the risks associated (Samsioe, 2014). The company should understand its connection to China’s politics and adhere to the rules and regulations (Tuite, 2019). Also, the business should consider cultural differences and supply products that meet the tastes and preferences of Chinese demography (Samsioe, 2014). Besides, before venturing into the fashion market in China, the business should understand the Chinese values and their economic state (Ki & Kim, 2016). For instance, they should understand the country’s inflation rates, infrastructural developments, and economic policies.
In conclusion, the fashion industry will continue to grow and expand shortly as long as it satisfies the tastes and preferences of its consumers. This report has analyzed the Australian and China’s fashion industry and the political, social, and economic issues a business can face in performing business in China. Some of the problems faced are strict legal regulations with weak enforcement methods and political risks such as political alignment to the communist party.
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Samsioe, E. (2014). The Chinese Fashion Industry: An Ethnographic Approach. By Jianhua Zhao. Fashion Theory, 18(1), 107–109. https://doi.org/10.2752/175174114×13788166350902
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Statista. (2021) . Fashion industry employment in Australia 2021, by economic sector. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1263636/australia-fashion-industry-employment-by-economic-sector/#:%7E:text=In%20financial%20year%202021%2C%20the,thousand%20workers%20in%20this%20time.
Tuite, A. (2019). What is Independent Fashion? An Australian Perspective. Fashion Practice, 11(1), 5–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/17569370.2019.1565368
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