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China's contentious fur industry booms

01-16-2013 13:43 BJT

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By CCTV reporter Hou Na

Despite efforts from animal rights activists, the fur industry has boomed in recent years in China. With affluent consumers on the rise, people are increasingly able to afford more varied and expensive fashion pursuits. CCTV reporter Hou Na went to the 39th China Fur and Leather Products Fair, to take a look at what's on offer.

For many Chinese, wearing fur clothing has become a symbol of fashion and status. Thanks to a dramatic rise in Chinese consumers, the domestic fur industry is booming.

Kenneth Loberg, director of Kopenhagen Fur, said, "I think the market here in China for fur is becoming the most important market in the world. It is the manufacturing area, for exporting to Russia, Italy and Europe. So what we can do and offer is to bring up the efficiency of the Chinese market, to be even more competitive."

Latest surveys show that three to four percent of Chinese people own fur products, and that number continues to climb.

Kenneth Loberg, director of Kopenhagen Fur

Hou Na, Beijing, said, "High-quality materials and fashionable designs are two important factors in the fur industry. Such as this one, it’s made of silk and mink fur. It has a lower cost, but looks more fashionable, doesn’t it?"

For some people, fur jackets, coats and hats are a way to flaunt their wealth and success. But for others, fur products represent nothing more than animal cruelty and environmental destruction.

Faced with such protests, industry experts defend the advantages of natural fur.

Mark Oaten, CEO of Int’l Fur Trade Federation, said, "I think one of the biggest advantages of natural fur is that it is a natural product. There are fewer chemicals used in making a real fur coat. And it’s a product that can last for generations."

Considering the pollution problems caused by curing skins, many leather companies now use easily degradable, natural ingredients. In the fur processing sector, labor-intensive fur processors also offer a large number of job positions every year. The whole fur sector employs around seven million workers.

But the leading Chinese fur company admits the industry still faces enormous challenges, due to the global economic downturn.

He Sucheng, Chairman of Young Entrepreneurs Fur Committee, said, "Despite its rapid development in recent years, we have to admit that China’s fur industry design and post processing technology still lags behind that of our European competitors."

China’s fur industry plays a positive role in meeting people’s desire for diversified lifestyles, and in boosting employment. But with concern rising about the inhumane killing of animals, and the environmentally-damaging chemicals used to produce fur products, the debate shows no sign of ending soon.

The 39th China Fur and Leather Products Fair

The 39th China Fur and Leather Products Fair

The 39th China Fur and Leather Products Fair

Hou Na from CCTV

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CCTV.com

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