Everest Textile Co (宏遠興業) yesterday launched its new range of smartwear, collaborating with Far Eastone Communications Co Ltd (FET, 遠傳電信) and PixArts Imaging Inc (原相科技), as it seeks to ramp up its market share in the segment.
Everest is the only Taiwanese textile company that has developed its own communication chipset and runs its own clothing brand — EverSmile (幸福台灣).
To build a thin and light monitoring device for smart clothing, Everest set up a research and development team one and a half years ago, led by a Taiwanese IC design expert who worked with six researchers, company president Roger Yeh (葉清來) told reporters on the sidelines of the products’ launch.
The new functional compression clothing is equipped with smart detachable devices that use PixArts’ optical sensors to monitor the wearer’s heartbeat and workout data, the Tainan-based company said.
The 9.5g device can also record, store and transmit data to an app developed by Far Eastone for users to check their data, Everest said.
Everest sees the collaboration with PixArts and Far Eastone as a smart clothing solution and is applying for a joint design patent, he said.
The smart compression clothing is available at EverSmile stores across Taiwan at a price of between NT$2,480 and NT$2,580 (US$75.79 and US$78.85), he said.
Introducing the product via EverSmile stores allows the company to adjust and upgrade the design of the product after receiving feedback from local consumers, he said.
“The product is just the beginning of Everest’s efforts in the smart clothing field. I have not set up a sales or profitability target as there is ample room for improvement,” he said.
Commenting on Everest’s textile provision business, Yeh said the company plans to spend NT$400 million introducing industrial automation facilities to its plants in Taiwan this year, and Thailand and Shanghai next year to raise production efficiency and cut costs.
Yeh said he supports the government’s “new southbound policy” aimed at diversifying investment away from China, but he said he doubts Vietnam is an ideal destination for textile companies looking to invest.
Many of Everest’s local peers, such as Eclat Textile Co (儒鴻) and Makalot Industrial Co (聚陽實業), have expressed interest in increasing investment in Vietnam, but Yeh said that rising labor costs and anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam pose risks.
Yeh said that Everest plans to set up two new fabric and garment factories in Africa and the US, with the company’s board meeting to discuss the plans next month.
He declined to specify the locations of the planned facilities in Africa or the US.
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