The International Competitiveness of Asian Economies in the Apparel Commodity Chain

Publication | February 2002

This report uses the global commodity chains framework to explain the transformations in production and trade networks, as well as corporate strategies, which have altered the global apparel industry over the past decades and changed the prospects for developing countries to enter and move up these chains. The apparel industry is identified as a buyer-driven commodity chain that contains three types of lead firms: retailers, marketers, and branded manufacturers. As apparel production became globally dispersed and competition between these firms intensified, each type of lead firm developed extensive global sourcing capabilities. While 'de-verticalizing' out of production, they have fortified their activities in the high value-added design and marketing segments of the apparel chain.


  • The Apparel Commodity Chain
  • Big Buyers and Global Sourcing
  • The Asian Connection in the Apparel Commodity Chain
  • Regional Divisions of Labor in Asia: A Commodity Chains Interpretation
  • Industrial Upgrading in Asia's Apparel Commodity Chain
  • Conclusion
  • References