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Company seeks to floor the opposition

By Du Juan  (China Daily)

13:25, May 28, 2012

Dating back 2,000 years, it's fair to say China's carpet weaving industry is at a very mature level, but now it is importing many products in the sector from the West.

"The demand for high-quality carpets as floor coverings in China has increased rapidly in recent years," said Bill Chipman, vice-president of Asia-Pacific and India at Shaw Industries. "It is just the right time to come to China because the clients here are ready for the products and the prices."

Having a nice carpet as a floor covering was traditionally considered a luxury by Chinese families. Before the country's opening-up in 1979, ordinary Chinese families considered it a bourgeois style of life, but now there is a fundamental change in attitudes with more people following global trends, industry experts said.

James Kong, design director of Infinity Design Engineering Co, a company offering indoor design for commercial buildings, said: "The design of the carpets gives people a refreshing feeling that I love a lot."

The carpets he refers to are produced by the world's largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries Group Inc, whose commercial brand - namely Shaw Contract Group - continued to expand its presence in China when it opened a showroom in Beijing on May 10.

"We will continue the investment in China since we see our opportunities here in a growing carpet market, especially in the commercial-use segment," said Chipman.

The company has invested more than 100 million yuan in China since it started expansion in the market two years ago, it said.

So far, it has many clients including China Minsheng Banking Corp, Deloitte China, Coca-Cola Co, Hang Seng Bank and Honeywell International Inc.

Besides opening offices and showrooms in more cities in the coming months, the company will break ground in June on a carpet tile manufacturing facility in Nantong, Jiangsu province, a big part of its strategic expansion in China.

Kong said he is quite familiar with the brand and often recommends it to his clients.

"Shaw's carpets have very strong performance in design and quality. Their high prices may be the only disadvantage," said Kong. "I believe after the establishment of the factory in Nantong, the company's carpets will be very competitive in the market with prices more acceptable to customers."

Maggie Liu, regional sales director of Shaw Industries in Greater China, said: "Our investment in China has surpassed all of our competitors."

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