Both China and India are often held up as markets that will become more important in future, and looking at the two side by side it seems that there are certain aspects in common. While India is a longer term prospect, both are seeing a time of change and both are in need of western technology and expertise.

China has a rapidly growing home market of equipment manufacturers that can satisfy much of mass market demand, but at the top end there is a demand for quality and style that Western manufacturers can supply. This is being triggered by a rise in tourism that will increase as the country plays host to international sporting and cultural events.

This will bring visitors who take certain standards of service for granted and expect them on their travels as well as at home too. Added to these expectations, China is seeing a rising middle class with aspirational values, again fuelling demand for quality textile care.

Western technology will bring environmental benefits, and though not noted for such concerns in the past awareness is now being forced on the country. It has to become more efficient in its use of resources.

Though India is less developed as a textile care market, similar themes occur in our article on the laundry market. India has a thriving economy and despite setbacks it is becoming a popular tourist destination for all classes, to such an extent that it struggles to meet the accommodation it requires.

Hotel projects are growing in number. Alongside this demand for service bought by tourism, the healthcare industry is growing and regulation is bringing a need for a great improvement. On both fronts, more modern laundry technology is needed to help these services become more efficient and to offer the standard of quality that is becoming more in demand.

However progress in not quite so simple as the reliance on old-fashioned methods, and old machines, may be harder to break than it seems. The industry needs to be made more aware of the cost effectiveness that technology can bring and to look beyond the frontline price of equipment to take account of hidden costs of a laundry operation before it can be truly convinced to invest in its future.

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Janet Taylor