It’s the Year of the Ox, an animal symbolising strength and determination. China displays plenty of that. It will contribute more than one-fifth to the total increase in the world’s gross domestic product over the next five years to 2026, predicts Bloomberg. That’s a mightily impressive contribution, given that global GDP is expected to rise by more than $28 trillion to $122 trillion over the period. It fell $2.8 trillion last year in the vice grip of Covid.

But while China trumpets its return to near normality post pandemic, some are a tad more sceptical. Marco Niccolini, general sales and marketing director for Renzacci, for example, says while four and five-star hotel projects are fast coming back on stream, many are reopening tendering processes. There’s also been an unprecedented lack of shipping containers. The pandemic threw the choreography of moving cargo from one continent to another into sheer chaos and that has been producing supply chain nightmares. “The reality right now is not reflective of what’s being reported on TV,” Niccolini says. “Long term, the outlook is positive but right now, my order book and our own market surveys do not show anything really growing.”

Texcare Asia is billed for September in Shanghai. The organisers are bullish but many major international manufacturing players say they are not yet committing to exhibiting there. Still, international players have been busy on the ground in China for no-one wants to be locked out of the rise of a world powerhouse.

Yunnan Kangjie Group, operating one of the most advanced laundries in China, looked to Jensen for a huge order of equipment in China’s southern province of Yunnan. The group services over 1000 customers. Jensen also scored with heavy investment into automation by Shaanxi Jinhe in Xi’an, a famous ancient capital city. Shaanxi Jinhe services high-end hotels with the largest hospitality laundry facility in the province and despite Covid, it has recently rapidly expanded.

Miele meanwhile reports that since April 2020 it has opened 30 new point of sale stores. While it said it had experienced stock issues and factory shutdowns during the Covid storm, business now was relatively “plain sailing”.

Christeyns has been busy entering the Chinese market for a little over two years and has just begun marketing its commercial laundry and wetcleaning business. It has penetrated segments such as the protective garment market together with the Belbium Vetex Group. It has also launched water and energy saving concepts such as Compact One for hospitality, firefighter and rescue suits along with healthcare and special processes for laminates. It provides services to the Hengshui Maternal and Child Health Centre in Heibei province and is soon moving services into another five hospitals in 2021, including Asia’s biggest hospital with 22,000 beds in Henan province. In May, Christeyns began servicing China Fire and Rescue in Changzhou City and since July, it will serve another 10 fire and rescue operations. Christeyns has another string to its bow in China – it is the country’s only powder solution supplier and has several more projects in the Hangzhou area. It plansto build a Laundry Academy together with the Yubang Group in the Inner Mongolia province in a bid to “help the Chinese textile care industry to upgrade”.

Now swing the spotlight onto Girbau’s subsidiary in China which celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year in the city of Shenzhen. Girbau and the Chinese Shenguang signed a joint-venture agreement in Shanghai in 2017. Likewise, Renzacci’s enormous investment into manufacturing a washer that will reclaim micro plastics is making waves.

In July China’s ruling communist party celebrates is 100th birthday and the country has gone into overdrive with plans for show-stopping celebrations and commemorations. Good news for the textile care industry, for the extravaganza will inch hospitality and hotels onto a faster recovery track. Like the rest of the world, hospitality was decimated by Covid and it took many laundry services down with it. Wuhan Kunteng, for example, built for the 7th world military games in December 2019 and with plans to become one of the dominant hotel laundry service providers in the area, was forced almost overnight to switch to healthcare and help in the local city efforts to beat the pandemic. Today, the news is more positive: during the last May holiday (1 to 5 May) 230 million domestic trips were made, up 119.7 percent over the same period last year, says the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.

At time of writing, China’s borders remained closed, but domestic tourism revenue reached €14 billion during the May Day holiday, a 138.1% increase year-on-year. The likes of Beijing Ruixin, one of the major hospitality laundries servicing China’s Beijing’s four and five star hotels and which more than doubled in size between 2018 and 2019 will, no doubt, be gearing up its processes. It is equipped with Jensen’s flatwork.

Overall, the commercial laundry industry in China remains decentralised. Commentators such as Christeyns report it has little ability to resist risks, is relatively weak and lacks specialised teams. But most pundits agree that collectivisation has begun. And it’s the younger generation forming the new-look industry’s backbone. “The development speed is far faster than in any other country and region in the world, and the development potential is huge,” says Christeyns.

China’s new entrepreneurs tend to be younger and well-educated, with an average age of 31 and nearly 44 %in the 25–34 age group, reports Research Gate. “They are the ones setting things like the environmental agenda, not the government,” says Marco Niccolini. “The new generation Chinese consumer is discerning and they won’t put up with bad service or things that are unkind to the environment. These young entrepreneurs know that if they invest in sustainable solutions they will sell more.” Asked to identify new concept textile care businesses which dress to impress and Jensen China’s marketing manager, Patrick Gittard, identifies, among others, the Bluesky Group which is “pioneering the rental concept in China”.

Bluesky, chiefly located in China’s capital Beijing but now on an expansion trail, wants to be an example for the textile services industry in China, reports Cinet. The laundry has a fully automated production line predominantly courtesy of Kannegiesser. It claims that it is leading in China when it comes to water treatment with a water sewage treatment plant processing 500 ton of wastewater daily. Now it’s working on the further recycling of waste heat from dryers and ironing equipment. Bluesky’s textile rental business is still a new concept in China and it is now examining textile recycling. It processes circa 70,000 kgs of laundry and rents textiles to around 25,000 luxury Beijing hotel rooms. Another game changer has been The Elephant King Laundry which in just 20 years has grown to nearly 700 franchise chain stores and expanded to Indonesia.

Richard Brown of Industrial Laundry Equipment in the UK told LCNi: “Spiralling labour costs in Europe increase costs, so the large more competitively priced manufacturing capabilities and the recently improved working conditions throughout China make for an attractive prospect.

“ILE was able to work together with its team of Chinese design engineers to produce a high quality product using famous brand components. Chinese factories producing to a European specification and using high quality components is a fantastic proposition as it combines quality, a well-trained affordable workforce and phenomenal design capabilities to bring known quality at a better price.”

There is a famous Chinese saying: “Without full-scale consideration, simple action is impracticable; without long-term strategy, short-term achievement is impossible.” Indeed, the Year of the Ox will be one to watch.


Ecolab is heavily involved with the giant Matilian Laundry in Tianjin, Fornet’s large-scale and highly automated laundry plant for Shanghai international theme park built from scratch in 2015. It needed Ecolab’s expertise in detergent dispensing systems, chemical usage, sanitising solutions, energy consumption and water quality among more. It has been a six year “business partnership” with Ecolab, says Matilian’s general manager Lei Bai. “Ecolab visits our plant every month to see if we have any washing problems or need any help.” Matilian Central Laundry processes 10,000 workwear pieces each day for the theme park’s staff. The 5,0000 sq meter plant over two floors covers business uniforms and linen and is stuffed to the brim with equipment: Jensen’s high speed gas heated chest-type flatwork ironer; Weishi’s high speed steam heated flatwork ironer line; Firbimatic dry cleaning machines; Electrolux wet washing machines; Milo washer extractors; Electrolux dryers; Sankosha presses and two station finishers; Jensen’s garments automatic sorting and distribution line….The list goes on…. The sorting system comes from Jensen’s partner Inwatec and detects nasties like fruit knives and pens which can, of course, contaminate and damage uniforms. A whopping 1,800 garment pieces are sorted per hour, done by no more than two employees. Without the automated system, this task would take five people, probably with less accuracy. The dispensing system is key to the operation and this has been provided by Ecolab’s textile care division for the past six years, along with other vital sanitising and environmental services. The plant uses a water recycling system from Nanjing Huicheng. Fornet is yet another success story in China. Founded in 1997 in Beijing it now has more than 1,600 franchises laundry stores in circa 320 cities and around 6,000 employees delivering services to well over 1 million customers daily.

  • Thanks to International Laundry Digest (ILD) which shared this information and pictures.