Textile not a sunset industry, says TAL Apparel CEO (Updated)

GEORGE TOWN: The textile industry which many may have now overlooked due to the emergence of electronics and electrical production here should not be defined as a "sunset industry".

In reality, it continues to rapidly grow in this globalised era, as apparel and clothing remain an essential need.

Making a point on this was none other than a Hong Kong-based personality who was instrumental in developing an apparel family empire in Asia under the brand of Pen Apparel Sdn Bhd, one of the oldest factories operating in the old industrial site of Penang-Sungai Pinang.

He was now expanding the garment business to other Asian nations and to Africa, namely Ethiopia.

In an exclusive interview with thesun, TAL Apparel chief executive officer Roger Lee revealed that growth continues to be recorded in the industry although the production cycle and market demands have changed somewhat.

Pen Apparel has also received accolades and continued to bring in revenue; supplying to many global apparel brands

"It is booming," he stressed, and instead said the industry was on the right path and the company manufacturing well-known clothes across the world with production lines in Vietnam, China and Ethiopia.

TAL based in Hong Kong is one of world's largest and admired apparel manufacturers which produces shirts, blouses, knits and pants at factories in Asia.

Among its brands are Brooks Brothers, Under Armour and Bonobos

Its workforce is more than 25,000 strong globally and it has rapidly grown with a new establishment in Ethiopia.

On whether there was any difficulty encountered when dealing with the labour workforce in Ethiopia, Lee merely said everything taught was the same.

He said they did not face any hardship when dealing with the Ethiopian counterparts and they will continue to expand.

The garment industry is not going to bleak as clothes are a basic industry in which many people could not do without.

"This is because everyone needs to wear clothes," he added.

To support this fact, Pen Apparel Sdn Bhd, considered to be the oldest garment factory in Penang, is continuously expanding its wings in the textile industry after its over 30 years of establishment.

Although many may have forgotten about the symbolic presence of its company in Penang, many of its oldest workers including the senior citizens have remained loyal to the cause of producing materials for the garment industry.

Therefore, it must be noted that garment industry must not be forgotten for its contribution in Penang.