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December 22, 2009

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Datang pulls up its socks to lead

DATANG, China's "sock capital," saw exports rise 6.7 percent in the first 11 months of the year as manufacturers elsewhere found themselves mired in the global economic downturn.

Datang, a town in Zhejiang Province that specializes in making socks, exported 3.5 billion pairs of socks worth US$530 million from January to November, said Yuan Zhigang, Datang's Party chief.

The 6.7 percent growth outshone most of China's export-oriented cities as exports dived 18.8 percent and those of the province declined 16 percent in the same period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the provincial's Department of Commerce.

Datang acquired the nickname "sock capital" as city officials claimed it produced one in every three pairs of socks worn on the planet. Datang's advantages in the global hosiery market go beyond cheap labor and resources, said Lin You, director of the Zhejiang University Industrial Development Research Center.

Lin said Datang's real edge is the myriad sock-related businesses clustered together.


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