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Survey on Competitiveness in the Textile/Clothing and Leather Sectors of the New Member Countries Survey on Competitiveness in the Textile/Clothing and Leather Sectors of the New Member Countries and Bulgaria and Romania

Part One Part One

Bulgaria includes (like Slovakia) a larger share of companies of the leather chain compared Bulgaria includes (like Slovakia) a larger share of companies of the leather chain compared to the 10 country sample. Bulgarian textile and clothing companies are more or less in the same proportion.

The composition of the Bulgarian sample is confirmed with a stronger presence of leather The composition of the Bulgarian sample is confirmed with a stronger presence of leather product companies

Compared to the 10 -country sample less Bulgarian companies are manufacturing for “themselves”. Compared to the 10 -country sample less Bulgarian companies are manufacturing for “themselves”.

The Bulgarian sample has one of the largest share of small enterprises (in terms The Bulgarian sample has one of the largest share of small enterprises (in terms of turnover) compared to the 10 -country sample and no large companies

Bulgaria deviates from the average in almost all parameters; sales to the EU 15 Bulgaria deviates from the average in almost all parameters; sales to the EU 15 are less than half the average, sales to the EU new member states are more than double and sales to the rest of the world are 19, 8% compared to 5, 5% in the 10 -country sample.

The Bulgarian sample has one of the highest proportion of small companies both in The Bulgarian sample has one of the highest proportion of small companies both in term of turnover and employment. Differently from the other countries in the survey, the Bulgarian sample has more leather and shoes companies than textile/clothing companies. Also regarding sales, Bulgarian companies deviate from the average with sales to the EU 15 one of the lowest of the sample.

Part Two Part Two

The largest share of Bulgarian companies in the sample surveyed has increasing sales (in The largest share of Bulgarian companies in the sample surveyed has increasing sales (in quantity); 10 percentage point more than in the 10 -country sample.

…. but they mostly have stable or decreasing turnover. This indicates that prices may …. but they mostly have stable or decreasing turnover. This indicates that prices may be decreasing.

According to the majority of Bulgarian companies only minor changes are needed to cope According to the majority of Bulgarian companies only minor changes are needed to cope with competition; together with the Latvians they are the most confident group of the survey.

The Bulgarian companies surveyed are among the most optimistic group (only 27, 2% foresee The Bulgarian companies surveyed are among the most optimistic group (only 27, 2% foresee a weaker position). Czech entrepreneurs are pessimistic, by far the most pessimistic among their colleagues of the 10 countries.

In Dec. 2004 Bulgarian companies seemed to fear Chinese competitors far less than the In Dec. 2004 Bulgarian companies seemed to fear Chinese competitors far less than the 10 -country average. Is this still the case?

Part Three Part Three

. . . but far more Bulgarian companies than companies in the other countries . . . but far more Bulgarian companies than companies in the other countries surveyed have felt direct consequences of Chinese competition.

The Bulgarian companies surveyed think alike companies in the 10 -country sample: most Chinese The Bulgarian companies surveyed think alike companies in the 10 -country sample: most Chinese competitive practises are unfair (appr. 80%)

Far more Bulgarian companies than the companies in the other countries do not have Far more Bulgarian companies than the companies in the other countries do not have direct evidence of unfair practices.

Dumping is the most allegged unfair practice for all. In Bulgaria counterfeiting does not Dumping is the most allegged unfair practice for all. In Bulgaria counterfeiting does not seem to be a big problem like in the other countries.

The vast majority of Bulgarian companies still thinks that Chinese competitors have weaknesses in The vast majority of Bulgarian companies still thinks that Chinese competitors have weaknesses in quality (wishful thinking? ). Many more than the 10 -country average.

A widespread conviction: price is the MAIN competitive advantage of Chinese manufacturers! Bulgarian companies A widespread conviction: price is the MAIN competitive advantage of Chinese manufacturers! Bulgarian companies show one of the highest percentages.

According to all companies in all countries Chinese products give “value for money”, that According to all companies in all countries Chinese products give “value for money”, that is they have a satisfactory price/quality ratio.

For most Bulgarian companies customisation plays a minor role in providing a competitive advantage For most Bulgarian companies customisation plays a minor role in providing a competitive advantage to Chinese competitors. For Lithuanians and Slovak it is just the opposite.

Bulgarian companies are equally divided among those who think that product range is not Bulgarian companies are equally divided among those who think that product range is not one of the competitive advantages of Chinese producers, and those who think it is.

Bulgarian producers have felt the impact of Chinese competition and have suffered mainly loss Bulgarian producers have felt the impact of Chinese competition and have suffered mainly loss of local clients. According to Bulgarian companies the main competitive advantage of Chinese producers is price. and, mostly, it is not considered a fair advantage since it seems to be result of dumping practices.

Part Four Part Four

No great deviation from the average for Bulgarian companies: this is only the beginning!!. No great deviation from the average for Bulgarian companies: this is only the beginning!!.

The answer is fairly dispersed as for the 10 -country sample. More Bulgarian companies The answer is fairly dispersed as for the 10 -country sample. More Bulgarian companies seem to think that fashion and design is the answer.

Two directions: innovation and lower taxes seem to be the levers of choice for Two directions: innovation and lower taxes seem to be the levers of choice for Bulgarian companies as well as for those in the other countries surveyed.

. . . a lot of thinking. …but most of them are not ready . . . a lot of thinking. …but most of them are not ready with a counter-attack strategy. Far less Bulgarian companies have worked out a strategy to deal with the current situation than companies in the other countries suveyed.

A much dispersed set of answers. A much dispersed set of answers.

Outsourcing seems to be considered as a possible future option by almost 50% of Outsourcing seems to be considered as a possible future option by almost 50% of Bulgarian producers. More than double the 10 -country average. Maybe outsourcing in China …. ?

Also design and fashion are factors on which to invest… as in the other Also design and fashion are factors on which to invest… as in the other countries surveyed.

Services are far less important than in the other countries surveyed Services are far less important than in the other countries surveyed

For Bulgarian companies customisation is by far the most critical factor for counteracting Chinese For Bulgarian companies customisation is by far the most critical factor for counteracting Chinese competition. This should be clarified…

As well as branding strategy… As well as branding strategy…

Chinese competition is expected to increase and its effects are already felt throughout. Bulgarian Chinese competition is expected to increase and its effects are already felt throughout. Bulgarian companies are more undecided on what to do to counteract this situation than companies in the other countries surveyed. An effective counterstrategy is difficulty to define. Elements such as innovation, fashion, customisation should all be included. Peculiarly also outsourcing in less costly countries is considered.