Maneuvering through the highly dynamic textile industry in China – together with ILLIES

Doing business in China is demanding and rewarding at the same time. The economy overall is expanding but single industries are highly volatile. This is especially true for the textile industry, which is heavily influenced by the latest trends in fashion.

As an experienced sales partner, ILLIES brings together textile producers and world-leading technology providers - not only to fulfill the latest fashion industry requirements, but also to create and drive new trends.

For exactly this reason, the customer FuJian TongDe Knitting Co. Ltd. has over the years continuously turned to ILLIES for the expansion and update of their existing lace machines manufactured by the German textile machine producer KARL MAYER.

In late 2012, when the lace business was booming, Mr. Chen Guang Cheng, the managing director of FuJian TongDe Knitting Co. Ltd, decided to upgrade their production line by investing in KARL MAYER 134'' MJ 59/1B High Performance Jacquard Lace machines.

In 2014, when no one could imagine that allover lace would once become as fashionable as it is today, Mr. Chen made a prudent decision to step into this new field, producing allover lace incorporating Bourdon yarns. As a result of intensive development efforts in the fields of designing, draughting, yarn qualities and machine settings combined with the right machine, allover lace finally became a new “highlight” in the global fashion market.

At the end of 2016, KARL MAYER launched the first LACE.EXPRESS machine, OJ 59/1 B, 210", a wider lace machine for the production of allover laces. Mr. Chen has requested this machine from KARL MAYER for a long time. Since the machine introduction, he has then shown confidence in the machine and has steadily placed orders for a total of 20 machines.

The main reason for choosing KARL MAYER machines was their high production rate combined with the operational stability and reliability. In a direct comparison between the OJ 59/1 B 210" and competing 268" locally manufactured lace machines, the output from both machine types is in the range of 10-13 tons (the exact production output may vary depending on the article being produced).

But there are further strong arguments in favor of the KARL MAYER OJ 59/1 B, 210":

  • The KARL MAYER machine can run at a steady high speed of 900 rpm for actual production when using good quality yarns, prepared correctly for the machine, and if machine settings are well adjusted.
  • This again leads to stable quality with less material wastage and second-tier quality.
  • The 210" machine has a smaller footprint and therefore uses less floor space than a 268" machine. This, in turn, also lowers the air-conditioning requirements, leading to lower production costs.
  • A machine running that stable requires less operators to look after the workshop – hence reducing the total operating cost.

Such advantages have continuously been promoted by the ILLIES South China sales team, which is headed by Vice General Manager, Mr. Liang Guo Cai.

Being convinced by the very competitive performance of the KARL MAYER LACE.EXPRESS machines, FuJian TongDe has not only facilitated orders for in total twenty sets OJ 59/1 B, 210'' machines via ILLIES, but also sold out existing 200'' and 268'' locally made competitor machines.

In 2017, the production capacity of TongDe Knitting has reached 400 tons per month. The remarkable and innovative developments of their large R&D team have supported TongDe Knitting in becoming one of the leading manufacturers in the commodity sector for allover lace. A success made possible by the high-performance machines of KARL MAYER and the services of ILLIES as an experienced, well connected business partner in the textile industry.

Images: KARL MAYER Textilfabrik GmbH


KARL MAYER is technology and market leader as well as driving force for innovations in textile machinery building. The manufacturer offers perfect solutions for warp knitting, technical textiles and warp preparation for weaving. The success of its international customers is of utmost importance to KARL MAYER. Therefore, it has always been the company’s aim to provide its clients with the best economical and technical products and services and to offer innovations which bring fresh impetus to the textile world.

With more than 2,500 employees worldwide, the international organization produces in its main markets, so that KARL MAYER is always close to its customers and their needs. Today the company has subsidiaries in the USA, in India, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Switzerland as well as agencies all over the world.

The German family-run enterprise was set up in 1937 and since then financial independence and economic sustainability have always been important aspects of our corporate strategy. As long-standing and reliable partner with many years of professional experience and high-quality level in all areas, KARL MAYER supports the competitiveness of its customers and business partners.


Founded in 1859 as the first German trading house operating in Japan, ILLIES is a pioneer in East Asian trade. In its over 160 years’ history, ILLIES has evolved from a general trading house to a specialist for top-end industrial machinery and technologies. Today the company is still family owned and managed – by the fifth generation of Illies – with a strong regional base consisting of 13 branches in 7 Asian markets.

ILLIES offers a comprehensive products and services portfolio for diverse industrial technologies: from project development and implementation of machinery projects up to complete turnkey solutions and after-sales support. As sales and project partner, ILLIES links world-leading technology providers with the manufacturing industry in Asian markets.

In 2020 around 345 employees work for the company. The executive board consists of C. Michael Illies (President/CEO), Stephan Hirschfeld (CFO) and Jan Rundshagen (CSO).




20459 Hamburg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)40 35903-211

Fax: +49 (0)40 35903-245

eMail: hamburg(at)