Meeting Standards for Functional Sportswear in China
Growth Market – And More Complaints
China’s sportswear market has grown quickly in recent years, with market research1 as-sessing the value at USD 25.3 billion in 2015. This growth is expected to continue to USD 43.1 billion by 2020 and so international sportswear brands are moving fast to take ad-vantage. However, these companies need to be aware of the increased intensity of the authorities’ examination of such products and the public’s refusal to accept false claims.
In 2016, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) began to publish the China Consumer Protection Annual Report. According to the report, there were 83,400 complaints about clothing, shoes and hats in 2015 and 44,700 complaints related to quality.
Some of these complaints concerned clothing that falsely claimed special functions such as moisture absorption and quick-drying properties, or anti-bacterial and anti-UV capabilities. According to the new Advertising Law published on September 1 2015, it is illegal to adver-tise a functional property of clothing if there is no relevant performance results for that declared function.
The Shanghai Consumer Protection Committee performed comparative tests on sports-wear products that claimed quick moisture absorption and quick-drying functions2. Among the 50 selected samples, 10 failed to meet the requirements for water absorption or quick-drying in the recommended standard: GB/T 21655.1-2008 Textiles-Evaluation of absorption and quick-drying-Part 1: Method for combination tests.
Imported Functional Sportswear
Between April and October 2015, the Chinese authorities performed random checks of both import and export commodities that were not on the list of products requiring inspec-tion. These items included home textiles, children's clothing, general clothing and func-tional sportswear.
For goods that are declared to be unqualified, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) may ask the importer to take remedial action. In addi-tion, the examination of similar unqualified goods will be strengthened and local govern-ments and relevant departments will be asked to monitor the quality of frequently unqual-ified import and export goods at different ports. AQSIQ will also publish the spot-check results to raise consumer awareness about unqualified goods3.
One of the main reasons for the high failure rate of imported functional wear is the differ-ence between the methods and requirements of China’s product standards compared to other international standards. If imported goods have only been tested to commonly-used international standards and not to China’s specific product standards, they may not meet the local requirements.
New Product Standard for Outdoor Sportswear – Water Resistant Garment
China is developing product standards specifically for functional wear such as the recently published Product Standard for Outdoor Sportswear – Water Resistant Garment.
On April 25 2016, the China Sports Goods Technical Committee of Standardization pub-lished a new product standard: GB/T 32614-2016 Outdoor Sportswear – Water Resistant Garment. This standard came into effect on November 1 2016 and includes requirements for fiber content, general product safety, physical performance.
Products must be evaluated for the above performance before and after washing, with the Grade claim shown on the product label. If it is not claimed, the Grade I requirement should be met. GB/T 32614 does not have a period of transition.
How SGS can help
Functional sportswear sold in China must now meet new functional performance require-ments as well as general mandatory safety, labeling and quality standards.
SGS is helping international sportswear brands to understand the specific functional per-formance requirements in China’s national product standards and any other applicable re-quirements and to ensure their products meet them.
For more information contact your local SGS representative, or our global team and visit our website.
Karen E. Kyllo, Ph.D.
Deputy Vice President, Global Softlines
SGS North America Inc.
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 em-ployees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.
1, Mons Calpe
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