(Reuters) – Fashion brands, including H&M, Nike and Adidas, have come under fire on Chinese social media for previous statements they made expressing concern over labor conditions in Xinjiang province.
Internet users in China are also targeting the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a group promoting sustainable cotton production which said in October it was suspending its approval of cotton sourced from Xinjiang for the 2020-2021 season, citing human rights concerns.
BCI members include Nike, Adidas, H&M, and Fast Retailing Japan.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the businesses of foreign fashion companies in China:
The Spanish firm’s annual report says it has 337 stores in mainland China – 141 of its flagship brand Zara, which opened its largest store in Asia in Beijing’s Wangfujing neighborhood last October. The company does not report sales by country.
This was sourced from 477 suppliers who run 2,318 factories in China, its website says.
The company has said that 100% of its cotton will be organic, recycled and supplied through BCI by 2025.
The Swedish Group has 505 stores in China.
China is H&M’s fourth largest market with sales of 9.75 billion Swedish crowns in the 12 months to November 2020.
China and Bangladesh are H&M’s biggest production markets for clothing, says the H&M website. The retailer owns or has contractual relationships with more than 1,300 factories in the country, according to data on its website.
H&M said its cotton would no longer be sourced from Xinjiang after BCI cut ties to the region in October 2020.
Nike said in its earnings statement that Greater China reported revenue growth of 51% to a total of $ 2.28 billion in the quarter to the end of February.
A statement on Nike’s website said that it did not source cotton from Xinjiang but that “traceability at the raw material level is an area of continuing focus”.
The German company said in its 2020 annual report that its 2020 net sales in China, excluding the Reebok brand, were 4.3 billion euros, out of a total of 18.4 billion.
The annual report says 15% of Adidas footwear, 20% apparel and 36% of accessories and fixtures such as balls and bags are manufactured in China.
In its 2020 social impact report, the company said it had asked its suppliers to stop sourcing cotton yarn from Xinjiang, and supported BCI’s decision to cut ties with the region and said the group was its “main source”. cotton.
Fast Retailing has about 800 Uniqlo stores in mainland China, roughly the same number as in its home market, Japan. It cites huge gains in mainland China in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The company reported revenues of 455.9 billion yen ($ 4.1 billion) in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the financial year ended August 31, 2020, 22% of total revenue.
More than half of its fabric factories and sewing plants are located in China, says the Fast Retailing website.
Fast Retailing said no Uniqlo products were produced in the Xinjiang region and no production partners were subcontracted to fabric or spinning mills in the region.
Muji Japan, which is owned by Ryohin Keikaku Co., operates 275 stores in mainland China, out of 975 worldwide.
The retailer was quoted as telling China The Global Times that they used Xinjiang cotton, earning praise from Chinese internet users, who praised the company’s “survival instinct”.
In a statement to Reuters, Ryohin Keikaku said it was concerned about reports of forced labor and discrimination in the region.
It said it had recently conducted due diligence for the Xinjiang plant, which has an indirect link through its supply chain, and also assigned an independent audit group to conduct an on-site audit.
“The results confirm that at this point, no significant problems have been identified except for problems which can be fixed by the farm or the spinning mill taking action on its own to make immediate repairs,” he said.
Reporting by Victoria Waldersee. Edited by Jane Merriman