With textile exports valued at USD 106 billion a year, and a domestic consumer market of apparel, footwear and sportswear of about USD 410 billion in 2018, the Chinese market is the world’s largest market.
Polygiene started working with Business Sweden in Japan and Australia in 2014 – a partnership that generated one of Polygiene’s largest customers in Japan and one of its top customers worldwide in Australia, compression clothing company 2XU. When the time came to launch in China, Sjösten says he did not hesitate to contact Business Sweden.
With 18 employees, Swedish Polygiene is the market leader in the odour control and Stays Fresh segment, in terms of both technology leadership and brand recognition. In 2017, it was named a “Gasell” company by Swedish business publication Dagens Industri, which identifies the fastest growing companies in Sweden. Polygiene is growing by an average of 30 percent per year and is targeting net sales exceeding SEK 400 million by 2022.To succeed in China, you need the language and local market knowledge
“When you enter a giant market like China, you need a solid business network and plenty of resources,” says Peter Sjösten, Polygiene’s Vice President of Commercial Operation.
Polygiene had an agent in China, but his network did not cover all the segments they were interested in. To make sure they could reach the right people, they decided to bring in more resources:
“Our team now consists of our Chinese agent, and two Business Sweden employees – one of whom is Swedish, while the other is Chinese. Between them, I’m confident we have the network and expertise to grow there,” Sjösten explains.
The first step was a market survey in the sportswear and underwear segments. After identifying close to 200 different brands, Business Sweden made contact and set up meetings. Once three or four meetings per segment were confirmed, Polygiene went to China to meet the brands.To date, Polygiene has secured two new accounts on the Chinese market, both within the online home textile market. Polygiene is already established in the Chinese outdoor segment, with leading outdoor company Kailas as one of its partner brands.
“Our focus for Polygiene in China is on the fast-growing online brands – often supported by flagship stores,” says Business Sweden’s Johan Lennefalk in China. “We’re also thrilled that we’ve been able to ensure that the Polygiene brand will now be visible in Adidas’ clothing made in China. Adidas was already a Polygiene customer but they hadn’t been given co-brand status due to challenges in communication, regulations and lack of local presence.”
Polygiene was founded in 2006 as a spinoff from Swedish industrial company Perstorp. The company develops and sells permanent odour control and Stays Fresh technology primarily to premium clothing brands in the textile industry. It also sells antibacterial solutions adapted for use on other types of surfaces.
Polygiene’s technology was originally developed in the early 2000s to create antibacterial surfaces for plastic materials and industrial flooring. Polygiene has 18 employees in four countries and had a turnover of SEK 69 million in 2018.