1. Cotton and textile industry
  2. Climate factors
  3. Mumbai, Maharashtra
  4. Osaka, Japan Industry
  5. Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  6. Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
  7. Manchester & Lancashire industry
  8. American cotton industry
  9. Chinese textile industry: Shanghai

In the previous article, we saw the factors responsible for location of Lumber, Paper Pulp and Fishing industry (click me). Now let’s check some industries based on natural fibers.

Cotton and textile industry

  • Cotton as a raw material=lightweight, non-perishable.
  • Cotton to yarn/textile =hardly any weightloss.
  • Therefore, proximity to raw material site=not essential, doesn’t offer great cost-saving in transportation. (unlike sugar, cement or steel industry)
  • Result=other factors become more important in industrial location viz.
    1. nearness to market
    2. nearness to waterbody (for dyeing, bleaching)
    3. Energy to run powerlooms and textile machines
    4. cheap labour supply
    5. availability of capital/finance

Climate as factor

  • In dry climate, the cotton-threads will break quickly during spinning. Machine halts, you’ve to join the threads again to restart operation=not good for mass production.
  • on the other hand, humid climate= thread will rarely break. So, cotton textiles were setup near costal areas. (e.g. Mumbai, Osaka, Lancashire).
  • Today we’ve humidifiers that can artificially increase the air-moisture in factory/workshed= you can setup factory anywhere, run it efficiently, irrespective of climate outside.

Anyways, let’s examine from desi-videsi cotton industries

Textile Biz: India vs Japan
Mumbai Osaka, Japan
nickname Cottonopolis of India Manchester of Japan
Raw material
  • black soil of Maharashtra good for cotton (short, medium staple)
  • port location= easy to import long-staple cotton from Egypt, foreign textile machinery.
  • Black lava soil=good for cotton cultivation but not sufficient to meet the demand.
  • Osaka=port location, majority of production done with imported cotton from India, Egypt etc.
Climate Location near sea=humid climate = threads don’t break
  • from Tata hydroelectric grid in Western ghat
Hydel power station near Osaka
Transport Mumbai=well connected via rail, road, airways, seaways. Osaka=Sea port + important railway junction.
Water Mithi river=Soft water for dyeing, bleaching. Yodo river
  • During American Civil War capitalists of Mumbai earned big profit by exporting cotton. This money was used to establish textile mills.
  • Today, Mumbai has good facilities for banking-finance.
Available from both government and private sector.
Labour Cheap, Abundant, skilled
  • Skilled, but not abundant.
  • High production using latest machines and automation technology.
Market Mumbai and India=large population =vast market Local market + export by sea to Australia, US. + Japan also uses petro-refinery byproducts for mfg. synthetic fibers.

let’s look @some more cotton mills

Textile Biz. Gujarat vs Tamilnadu
factor Ahmedabad Coimbatore
Raw material Available from nearby districts. same + cotton variety known as “Cambodia cotton” is grown.
Energy Thermal power plant near Sabarmati Pykara Hydel project
Water for dyeing, cleaning, bleaching Sabarmati, Khari river Noyyal river
  • Large market in Gujarat and neighboring states
  • proximity  to Mumbai port=yarn also exported to Japan
Large demand in Southern States+ Chennai port for export

Although in the 80s, most of the Ahmedabad mills fell sick and closed down. Industry shifted towards Surat-Khambhat region of Gujarat.

Manchester & Lancashire industry

Map: Textile industry of Manchester

rise of Cotton Industry in Britain
Climate moist Westerlies =humidity=threads don’t break
Raw Material Cheap Cotton from its colonies (India, Egypt).
  • Liverpool port
  • Later Manchester Ship Canal was developed to turn Manchester itself into a port.
Water Streams from Pennine hills=soft water for dying bleaching.
  • In the initial phase of Industrial revolution, same water was used as source of energy for running Arkwright’s spinning machine.
  • later, coal utilized from Northern England and Wales
Labor By 1600 production of a fabric called “fustian” started in England.
Fustian makers settled in this region because humidity helps in cotton spinning.
Market Demand in Europe + Lancashire faces American ports.

The decline of British Textile Biz.

  • After WW2, Britain lost its colonies one by one, dirt cheap cotton=no longer available.
  • during 20th century cheaper imports from Hong Kong, Japan and other parts of Asia. Even the former colonies of Britain also started using those cheaper clothes, so Lancashire=no longer receiving large orders.
  • Business moving towards coastal areas for better opportunities in shipbuilding, marine engineering, soap, heavy chemicals industries.
  • Hence, Textile industry fading away, old factories are refitted for production of light-engineering items. (Reason? = industrial inertia, we will see that in Iron-steel industry article later on.).

American cotton industries

Map Cotton textile industry of USA

Two important regions
New England region Cotton belt in south
6 States located in the North East corner of US North Carolina, South Carolina ,Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi. Include parts of Texas and California.
Proximity to Boston and New York= ports and domestic market. large cotton growing areas: US cotton belt is 1200+kms broad and 4000+kms wide.
  • immigrant workers
  • slave labor during colonial era helped in growth.
  • Today farming is mechanized=lack of labor doesn’t create much problem.
  • coal from Appalachian region
  • hydroelectric power along major rivers (e.g. Tennessee)
  • The New England factories little room for expansion due to mountains.
  • Today New England industry is concerned mainly with high-end specialized fashion products for New York etc. While Southern Mills produce garments for masses.
  • Vast land provides more room for expansion. (and use easy use of large machineries on farmland)
  • Southern state also had pulp mills for production of rayon= growth of both cotton+synthetic industry.

Chinese textile industry: Shanghai

Observe the map and think about the factors that are helping Shanghai

Geography aidiing Chinese Textile Biz.
Factor How does it help?
Climate port city=humid=threads don’t break
Raw Material Yangtze-kiang delta=good for cotton cultivation
  • Shanghai itself a port city
  • good railroad connectivity with hinterland.
  • Yangtze river =inland water transport.
Water+ Energy Yangtze river
Labor of course available
  1. Kobe, Taiwan, S.Korea, Hong Kong : all located within 1000 nautical miles
  2. market within china: Nantong, Wuhan, Chongquing etc. connected via Yangtze river.

Apart from Shanghai, Cotton also produced in the areas around Hwang-Ho valley, Sichuan, Nanjing, Beijing and thanks to labor availability (and domestic demand), textile industry is found in those places as well.
In the Next article, we’ll see the factors affecting location of Silk Industry.