China to be new market for Iranian carpets

China is taking the place of the U.S. as the largest buyer of Iranian hand-woven carpets.

In conformity to the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by some countries, now they have started to restrict the import of genuine Iranian hand-woven carpets.

At first glance it appears that Iran is losing one of its major carpet markets, but instead it has resulted in the gradual exit of China from the international hand-woven carpet market. China had in the past years opened a small niche for itself by offering low-priced hand-woven carpets with inferior quality compared to the Iranian counterparts.

Many experts believe that the U.S. market will never be without Persian carpets because the private sector runs the export of carpets to the U.S. without any interference from the public sector. In the past we see that whenever the private sector takes matters into its hands, despite restrictions, they find ways to export their products based on the supply and demand, and the carpet market is no exception in this regard.

Anyhow, many experts and officials of the hand-woven carpets industry maintain that China is the new flourishing market for Iranian hand-woven carpets, and this trend will lead to the gradual exit of that country from the global hand-woven carpet market.

As a matter of fact, China, India, Pakistan, and Turkey are the major rivals in the world for Iranian hand-woven carpets. A glance at the trend of the export from China of hand-woven carpets during the period from 2003 to 2009 shows a decrease from $136 million in 2003 to $92 million in 2008, down to $59 million last year.

United Nation's statistics in this regard emphasize the gradual exit of China from the global hand-woven carpet market which has given the opportunity to its rival India to enter the market with products similar to that of China. 

By the same token, China's share of the global market of hand-woven carpets has declined from 10.7 percent in 2003 to 4.7 percent in 2009 which also proves the fact that China is losing its foothold in the hand-woven carpet market.

Meanwhile, some experts believe that China's exit from the global market of hand-woven carpets is related to its economic growth and the increase in per capita income.

China is the only country with continuous economic growth of over 8 percent in the past three decades and for this reason it is widely known as the country with legendary economical growth.

According to the World Bank statistic's China's economic growth in 2009 reached 8.7 percent, its population increased 0.5 percent and its per capita income increased 8.2 percent. Based on these figures it is predicted that with this growth of per capita income in China, low-income activities will gradually fade away. This matter is also true in some regions in Iran and the increase in civic and agricultural activities has led to a decrease in the number of carpet weavers.

A review of World Bank statistics in regard to economic growth in some countries between 2005 to 2008 shows that economic growth in all these countries was lower than that of China, so it is safe to say that the condition of the Chinese people has relatively improved more than other countries. Economic growth in the U.S., Britain, Japan, Greece, Canada, France, Sweden and Italy in 2008 was less than one percent while it stood at about 9 percent in China.

Therefore, we can say that China's economic growth, rise in per capita income and tendency towards products with higher added value such as machine-woven carpets, are the most important factors which have led to the gradual decline in China's share of the global hand-woven carpet market, although other factors may also be related to this matter.     

Due to China's high economic growth compared to other countries it is predicted that in the near future it will turn into and importer of Iranian hand-woven carpets for its higher income stratum in its society.

Studies of the Chinese market show that the per capita income of its population has improved and in the future it will be a good market to exploit.

The serious and continuous presence of Iran in important Chinese exhibitions related to furniture, decorations and flooring will in the future turn China into a good market for Iranian hand-woven carpets.

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