The technological level of China's textile industry is catching up with that of Japan amid large annual budgetary assistance from the Chinese government.
An official at the Japan Chemical Fibers Association said, ''China is seeking to become a global center in terms of (textile-related) technological development on top of being the world's production and consumption center.''
The Chinese government invested the equivalent of 220 billion yen to develop advanced textile technology in the five-year period through 2010, with its annual budgetary outlays averaging 44 billion yen, according to the association's recent study report.
China has 15 universities devoted to textile-related research and development, while Chinese students and researchers have brought home the latest textile technology after studying in the United States, it noted.
Some European universities have even placed curbs on Asian students due to concern over the possible outflow of textile-related technology, it said.
The Japanese government's stance regarding the textile industry stands in sharp contrast, with the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry's annual textile-related budget limited to 1.5 billion yen.
While textile-related research has been conducted at Shinshu University's Faculty of Textile Science and Technology as well as in some prefectures where the textile sector is the major industry, such as Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyoma, Aichi and Gifu, state-level studies have been terminated, according to the official.
''China is studious about bolstering its technological levels partly because it has the military-related aim of developing high-performance materials such as carbon fibers for use in aircraft wings,'' a Japanese industry official said.