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Clothmaker hits right note in China

A specialist textile manufacturer from West Yorkshire has won £1m of contracts to sell snooker and pool table baize and piano felt to China.

The two century-old family company, Hainsworth, said that China's leisure industries are booming, with snooker and pool expanding so rapidly that China now represents 40 per cent of its cue sports cloth sales.

The company's biggest Chinese customer is also the largest manufacturer of cue sports cloth in China, said commercial director Adam Hainsworth. He added: "Hainsworth quality has long been recognised in providing the best playing surface for these games."

Chinese piano makers are also moving upmarket, determined to compete with the world leading manufacturers, and are specifying Hainsworth felts, he said. "Each piano takes two kilos of wool felt, so that is another growth area with substantial potential," he noted.

He added that co-director Rachel Hainsworth was in Indonesia reviewing a supply contract for Samick, a part-owner of Steinway, which makes approximately 4000 pianos a month. Hainsworth already supplies Steinway in the US and Germany, is the main supplier of woven piano cloths to the world's largest manufacturer of piano parts in China, and is now negotiating with other Far Eastern manufacturers. This means that Hainsworth felt will probably be in every new quality piano across the world, in addition to the important repair and refurbishment business, he claimed.

Adam Hainsworth added that one factor in the company's favour is that is has been able to capitalise on low freight costs by using incoming containers from the Far East, which would otherwise go home empty, to take goods back out to customers in China.

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