A Chinese apparel firm is investing a grand total of $150 million in an industrial park project on Lahore’s border with Kasur. The park will feature state-of-the-art fabric units, dyeing facilities and garment manufacturing units for exporting sportswear from Pakistan to the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific and other regions of the world.
The project by the Shanghai-based Challenge is reportedly the first foreign direct investment (FDI) in an export industry in Pakistan. The firm is already operating as Challenge Apparel since 2017 with its garment manufacturing unit on Multan Road near Lahore fetching nearly $44 million in export revenue during the last fiscal year, according to its managing director Chen Yan, who is known in the government and business circles as Karen.
She expects exports from her existing facility to grow to $54 million this fiscal year. Once the Challenge Fashion Industrial Park becomes functional from July next year, its sportswear exports from Pakistan are projected to grow to $120 million in the first year and to $400 million over the next few years
The largest Pakistani textile exporting company’s exports stood at less than $300 million last year.
Talking about the industrial park in an interview with Dawn, Yan explained that her company’s main aim behind the flagship industrial park was to make Pakistan a “hub for sportswear exports”.
“We’re bringing modern, most-efficient and environment-friendly technology to Pakistan from across the world besides introducing new ways of management at our new flagship industrial park. Our plan is to make Pakistan the hub for our polyester-based sportswear exports,” she said.
Challenge entered the Pakistan market in 2014 when it invested $47m in a joint venture with Masood Textiles, a major exporter from Faisalabad. But the venture couldn’t last long as the company bled money profusely and the Chinese investor decided to relocate to Lahore as an independent company.