HANGZHOU, China — Delta Textile Co., Ltd. doubled its loom count in 2017 to 40 double-wide looms in order to meet the demand from the domestic Chinese market while continuing to service its customers in “a stable North American market” according to company owner Freeman Shen.
Aside from the loom expansion, Shen says he is also installing a finishing line to do fabric back coating.
“The Chinese domestic market for upholstery is growing fast along with the rapid growth of the Chinese middle class,” he says. He expects the US market for furniture to decline 10-15 percent in 2018, while there will be a gain in the furniture business in China.
“At the same time, the market has become more competitive in Chinese export and the fabric prices keep going down,” Shen says. “However, if the US passes tariffs against China, it will drive fabric prices up,” he feels, “but this may never come to pass.”
Shen, 41, founded his company in 2005. He says he scored $79 million in sales in 2015. The US furniture industry accounts for 70 percent of Delta’s sales today but Delta also has accounts in Germany, UK, Russia and Canada. Shen says that Delta has not grown significantly since 2015. He is now setting his sights to servicing the local market from Delta’s 60,000 square foot warehouse and factory in Haining.
Delta supplies open line fabrics and fabric kits to about a dozen important furniture manufacturers in the American market with prices ranging from $1.80 to $6 a yard FOB Shanghai for polyester chenilles at the lower end and jacquard designs for pillows at the higher end. “The US demand for kits and piece goods is about equal,” he says. “Some customers like Southern Motion or La-Z-Boy prefer buying piece goods while others like United buy only kits. Some customers do not want to be stuck with kit inventory at the end of the year.”
Delta says it has its own in-house design capability and produces two collections a year. Shen attends both High Point furniture markets, has attended Showtime and sees his customers twice a year on separate trips. “Customers also visit us in China,” he says.
Delta also manufactures polyurethane fabrics for the furniture industry and the American RV trade and also supplies the local automotive markets in China with an upgraded PU product. He has a keen interest in the growing electric car market and hopes to supply it with seating.
When Shen isn’t traveling, he is an active sportsman with an interest in golf as well as snowboarding, skiing and diving.