By Manik Mehta
FRANKFURT, July 11 – After a two-year hiatus necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the world’s biggest trade fair for technical textiles called Techtextil was held “live” from June 21 to 24 here in Germany.
BT. BioTex Sdn Bhd, headquartered in Bangi, Selangor, was the sole participant from Malaysia, showcasing its range of chemicals that are used for the textile industry.
With the growing environmental consciousness among Western importers, Malaysian companies will have to offer products that are environment friendly with little or no damage to “the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” one Dutch buyer was saying in hall 6 which was packed with large numbers of exhibitors from Asia.
The emphasis on environmental protection rang true with many potential Western buyers relaying this
sentiment to their suppliers.
The four-day trade fair was held amid growing optimism that the industry had surmounted many of the challenges posed by the pandemic, the global shortages of raw-materials and supply chain disruptions, exacerbated by the devastating Russia/Ukraine war.
The Techtextil was jointly organized with two other leading international textile-related trade fairs – Heimtextil (home textiles) and Texprocess (processing textile and flexible materials). The combined three trade fairs attracted 63,000 specialized trade visitors and 2,300 exhibitors from around the world.
BioTex, which was established in 2002 in Malaysia and supplies its products to more than 40 countries with partnerships in 11 countries, provides high-tech finishing chemicals to buyers around the world.
The company, which says it focuses on “unique and innovative solutions, as well as research and development”, provides high fluorinated water and oil repellents, flame retardants, PU Coating, wrinkle free resin applications, encapsulated mosquito – cool – fresh finishes, wet and dry rub fastness improver, black deep color shade improver, softener chemistry silicon – esterquat and wax technology.
At the Techtextil fair, the company’s Germany-based business director for Europe, Noa N., told
the Weekly Echo that BioTex was presenting its products under the broad themes of sustainability and circular economy.
“We use renewable raw materials for textile chemicals, using sustainable product versions for
technical textiles which will reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by the mills,” Noa said. The
company was conscious of its responsibility to the environment, manifested in its environmental protection programme and the reduced pollution it was increasingly trying to achieve.
The core business of the company, originally founded by French entrepreneurs, was to provide
”With a keen desire to move to Asia, with large customer base in India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, etc. and recognizing the practicality of being located in the proximity of its markets, BioTex founders finally chose Malaysia because of its strategic geographic location for supplies of palm-based chemicals such as water repellants for the textile industry.
“Driven by the “we-go-where-the-raw-materials-are” strategy, the company’s management chose
Malaysia because of its proximity to the major markets – shipments to the other markets in
Asia could take only a few days compared to the nearly month-long journey taken by sea-route
shipments from Europe to Asia.
“The reduction in shipment time meant less CO2 emission while transporting products by ships. Another major factor that swayed the management’s decision in favour of Malaysia was the availability of raw materials for its manufacturing operations in the country. Besides, BioTex also has some major customers in Malaysia itself,” Noa said.
“We have received orders from newcomers at the fair, worth some 120,000 Euros (1 Euro = 4.62 Ringgit) In fact, some of our customers are themselves exhibiting at this fair,” Noa said.
As was apparent to many suppliers at the trade fair, BioTex, which has collaborations with Belgian and Australian corporations, also discerned a propensity among buyers to use sustainable products and to insist on guaranteed supplies.
“Textile mills which contribute to pollution, are keen to reduce their CO2 emission,” said Noa who frequently visits Malaysia and keeps the management in Malaysia apprised of the latest developments in Europe.
While BioTex was the only Malaysian company exhibiting at the Techtextil trade fair, another regular exhibitor, Shah Alam based Nature World Sdn Bhd was missing at the sister event Heimtextil in which the company had participated in the past where Sue Tan, the company’s managing director, had showcased the company’s home linens, bedding accessories and other related products.
The three trade fairs – Heimtextil (home textiles), Techtextil (technical textiles) and Texprocess (technical textile manufacturing) organised by Messe Frankfurt indeed offers unique advantages to suppliers from around the world, said Michael Jaenecke, its Director (Techtextil and Techprozess – Brand Management).
Foreign suppliers participating in the shows get a comprehensive and at the same time in-depth market insight at these fairs as so many exhibitors from all application areas and product groups come together under a single roof, he said.
Participants also get to meet experts and network and trade fairs are very practical to promote a country’s exports, he added.