The nation’s two major garment suppliers, Quang Viet Enterprise Co (廣越企業) and Makalot Industrial Co (聚陽), are pouring resources into the development of their latest smartwear technologies, company executives said yesterday at Computex Taipei.
“Since 2016, we have been working on research and development for a smart jacket that integrates temperature control and GPS tracking functions,” Quang Viet president Charles Wu (吳朝筆) said on the sidelines of the global trade show.
Quang Viet said it has teamed up with local partners, including the government-backed Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI, 紡研所), broadband system integrator HwaCom Systems Inc (華電聯網) and IP surveillance solution provider Brickcom Corp (金磚通訊科技), to develop the cutting-edge product.
Formosa Taffeta Co (福懋興業), a textile manufacturing arm of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), is to provide functional fabrics used in the new product, Wu said.
The four companies are to receive NT$120 million (US$4.02 million) in funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said Shen Chien-lung (沈乾龍), chief officer of TTRI’s smart textiles division.
Taipei-headquartered Quang Viet, whose customers include North Face Inc and Under Armour Inc, said it is in talks with several brand clients for the launch of its smart jacket.
“The smart clothing would be sold for the fall/winter 2020 season at the earliest, as our brand customers have already placed orders for next year’s shipments,” Wu said, adding that Quang Viet is ready to begin mass production.
The apparel supplier has set the jacket’s selling price at US$399, and aims to attract more brand customers, he added.
Quang Viet plans to spend up to NT$20 million in capital expenditures to accelerate the commercialization of its smartwear product over the next two years, it said.
Meanwhile, Makalot is seeking certifications for its latest functional wear featuring graphene, a material that helps devices detect and monitor electrical activity in the wearer’s heart more accurately.
Makalot, which makes products for Gap Inc, Kohl’s Corp and Target Corp, has been working on the product with Hsinchu-based healthcare solution provider Singular Wings Medical Co (奇翼醫電) for more than two years.
The company aims to differentiate itself from its local peers by providing high-end products that can be used for medical purposes, as technical thresholds and gross margins for this type of product are usually higher, said Tsai Wayi (蔡維溢), executive assistant to Makalot’s chief executive.
In addition to its existing customers, the company is in talks with hospitals in Taiwan and China regarding applications of its smart clothing, Tsai said.
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