After 25 years of arduous pioneering effort, initiative, innovation and unique business philosophy, today Zoje Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. has become a leading sewing machines manufacturer from China, which has full automatic production of the four major processes of the casting, casting processing, painting and assembling of sewing machines. Based on the provincial level high-tech R&D center established in 1998, Zoje successively cooperated with the world’s leading companies of sewing machines including PFAFF, SINGER and DÜRKOPP.

Through independent innovation, Zoje has become a high-tech enterprise with more than 150 national patents (including 26 patents of inventions). Zoje’s products have passed the ISO9001 certification by the Rhineland Germany as well as ISO14000 environment system certification and European CE certification. These products are sold well in more than 30 provinces and autonomous regions in China, and exported to more than 100 countries and regions in Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Zoje has become the world’s largest production base for medium and high-end industrial sewing machines.

In 1998, Zoje began to cooperate with the well-known international enterprises. The company brought in experts from Germany and Japan to invest in the research and development of the special machine. It mainly produces seven major series including electronic zigzag, post-bed machine, electronic lockstitch buttonholing, electronic eyelet buttonholing, electronic pattern and electronic bar tacking, which are easy, intuitive and fast. The complete machine integrates a variety of advanced technologies on light, electricity, and gas, etc. and represents the relatively advanced level of technology in the sewing machine industry.

“Our objective is to make Zoje, China’s best sewing machine by technical research and development. For this we have implemented technology innovation strategy and intensified the efforts of independent research and development. The company attracts and transforms foreign advanced technology, accelerates the research and development of key core technologies, and strives to develop innovative products of mechanical and electrical integration, which have high added value, high quality, high technology as well as proprietary intellectual property rights and core technologies,” said Ruiyuan Li, President, Zoje Sewing Machine Co. Ltd., while speaking exclusively to Apparel Views Editor Arvind Kumar during his visit to their factory in China.

“With the philosophy of “quality creating excellence,” Zoje innovates the technology, improves quality and creates the competitive products. Every year we make 7,00,000 sets, which is our capacity. These days, sewing machine’s demand is constant, as not many garment factories are increasing their capacities or replacing their existing technologies with new ones. When compared to basic machines, automatic machines’ demand is growing. Which is the reason why every Chinese machinery manufacturer is focusing on automatic machines, and Zoje has an edge over the same,” said Ruiyuan.

“In last five years sewing machines demand has increased in India. The country has a large domestic apparel market, with huge population, more young generation looking for high fashion and buying more clothing. Earlier people used to buy 4-5 apparel sets in a year now but now every month they are buying three-four sets as per the latest fashion trend. But during the same, raw material cost increased at a higher rate than cost of final product in exports segment. Now European & American buyers are preferring to give small and fashionable orders unlike simple bulk orders in past. Besides, a major share of garments orders from India has also shifted to Bangladesh and Vietnam,” said Roben Wu, Overseas Sales Director, Zoje Sewing Machine Co. Ltd.

Commenting on the demand from the Indian market Roben said, “India is a very price conscious market and there is a huge demand of basic machines. We realised that we cannot change the customers than we have to change ourselves, so we just developed a new direct drive model, which is available at very comfortable price for the Indian market. Also, we will continue to invest in innovation and have invested over RMB 300 mn in R&D.”

When asked about the sales strategy of the India market he said, “We have divided Indian market into four parts where we have our own offices and service stations with local staff, to be closer to our customers. Every office has Indian head and staff along with four Chinese staff separately for Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions. In Kolkata and Chennai we are marketing sewing machine for shoes or leather industry, in Bangalore, Tirupur, Delhi and Mumbai, we are mainly focusing on garment factories through our dealers network. All these areas are further divided into other smaller parts and have hired our own engineer to provide good service to the customers.” Roben also added, “Having a good partner to represent your company is most important. We are machinery manufacturer so need local partner to deal with business which is most important for our strategy implementation in the local market. We have partnered with Magnum Resources and Alpine two lading Indian companies for providing technology solutions.”

When asked about the importance of Indian and Bangladesh market for the company, he said, “In volume, India market’s share is less than one per cent of our company’s turnover. Now we have many projects in hand, so in next three years India will be one of the most important markets for us. When it comes to Bangladesh, it is very stable market for us which is improving slowly. It is very different when compared to India, which is very big so our strategy is totally different for the same. There almost 80 per cent market is based in Dhaka and 20 per cent in Chittagong. So, we decided to have a stronger presence there directly, by having two offices in both the cities with more than 50 staff for marketing, providing spare parts and servicing.”

Speaking over company’s performance in fast growing competitive scenario Roben said, “Price wise we are very competitive when compared to other brands available in the Indian market. In terms of quality also, we are the best in China. We always have the strategy of focusing on quality rather than numbers. Apart from Bangladesh we are doing very well in Sri Lanka also. For next two years we will roguishly be working in India market to increase our share. Our focus will be First to have innovative products, Second is team, Third is having system and Fourth we will to achieve the desired results.”

Commenting on the latest trend in sewing machines he said, “Efficiency, low consumption, environmental protection, reliability and intelligence are the main trends of the future development of industrial sewing machines. Mechatronics trace oil, high efficient intelligence, and special machine are the priorities for the research and development of new products. Our company caters international markets through cutting edge technology and strives to develop the innovative products with independent intellectual property rights and core technologies as well as with high value-added, high-quality and high tech mechatronics.”

Adding to this Ruiyuan said, “For garment industry requirements are different when it comes to sewing machines in comparison to other industries. This industry’s competition is very tough. That is why we have lots of innovations and keep on doing modification to our existing machineries. Customers today want to use good quality automatic machines at a good price. In China labour cost is very high so that’s why automatic machines are becoming very popular there. All our machines are direct drive, but we also offer clutch motor as it is still in demand among certain segment of customers.”

“With the change in the pattern of globalization, the apparel industry is developing toward diversification, and the demand for sewing keeps on increasing. Looking at the changes in market demand, Zoje adjusts the product structure by improving the capability of independent innovation, to create the most complete product chain in the sewing industry with core technology to enhance its competitiveness,” said RobenWu. “To cater all types of customers, we have wide range of products. Up to now, Zoje’s sewing machine has formed 16 series, covering nearly more than 300 products, which can meet a variety of sewing requirements. After starting business with our new agents in India we see very positive prospects in the Indian market for sales. In last one year we had very good sales in the country and hope they perform better this year.”