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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
16 OFF-FARM June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE With 30 floors containing 1200 retailers across 2.8 million square feet, ShanghaiMart represents the might of modern China. As one the largest business to business traders in China with over one million visitors a year, it also has a strong hunger for fibre to clothe and house a rapidly developing nation. After visiting Australia in May, ShanghaiMart now also has a concept of the many benefits Australian wool has to offer across both apparel and interior textile markets. Until coming to Australia in May, "wool" was simply another fabric, a commodity to be bought and sold for a price, according to some of the 15 Chinese delegates that travelled to Australia. But after visiting the country, its people, its landscape and animals, "Australian wool" now represents a fibre with substance, of known quality and importantly, a fibre of choice according to ShanghaiMart General Manager Hansen Tian. Organised by AWI's Shanghai and Sydney offices, ShanghaiMart retailers and designers visited woolgrowers, brokers, scientists and retailers across NSW and Victoria. The group visited and met with Merino and Corriedale producers, the Australian Wool Testing Authority, the Melbourne wool selling centre, the Wool Museum, Deakin University and the Sheep CRC. Seeing for themselves the beauty and passion behind Australian wool, Mr Tian said he would expect to see an increased demand for wool from the group. "We have been very impressed with the systems behind Australian wool, the testing and the measurement. The wool comfort meter developed by the Sheep CRC looks like something we could really use as we are looking to replace Cashmere with Merino where possible," Mr Tian said On returning to China, Zhang Sheng from the AWI Shanghai office confirmed the trip had been a great success. "These trips are very important for creating new business. Everyone that came across had a wonderful time and have made some important connections. I am sure it will make a difference with such big players involved," she said. More information: Hear more from Hansen Tian in the AWI podcast "The Yarn" at www.wool.com/podcasts FAST FACTS l A delegation from the giant Chinese retail trading centre ShanghaiMart has been inspired by a tour of the Australian wool industry. l The delegation now regards Australian wool as a fibre of substance rather than a commodity. l The group said that, where possible, they were looking to replace cashmere with Merino wool. Chinese traders f ind a fibre with soul Hansen Tian, General Manager of ShanghaiMart with Corriedale producer Nick Cole from the Western District of Victoria. "WE HAVE BEEN VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE SYSTEMS BEHIND AUSTRALIAN WOOL, THE TESTING AND THE MEASUREMENT" HANSEN TIAN