Chinese leather industry officials are calling on producers to move away from their current reliance on mass produced and cheap exports and focus more on products with higher added value, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Madam Zhang Shu Hua, deputy chairman of the China Leather Industry Association, is reported as saying that China is short of famous brands for its leather products, even though it dominates world leather production.

Madam Zhang noted that the industry is in transition from a focus on quantity to an overriding concern with quality. She added that leather producers should aim to achieve higher quality even though this may be at the expense of production volumes.

China exported leather products worth US$14.35 billion last year, an increase of 24% as compared with 1999.

Meanwhile, an official at the Development Research Centre at China’s State Council said that Chinese leather producers should develop products based on the latest manufacturing technologies, particularly those that are environmentally friendly. This would help them win new markets worldwide, said the official.