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Silk fabrics are now selling for as much as $150,000 per kilogram, or $50,000 for a two-pack.
But this is the latest example of the rapid rise of silk in China, where a government crackdown on the industry has driven down prices by 50% in the last decade, leaving the industry largely untouched.
Now, Chinese silk producers are getting ready to take their business elsewhere.
In February, Chinese textile maker Silk Beauty was awarded a $150 million loan from a Chinese investment firm, making it the first textile firm to receive such a high-level government investment.
The loan, part of a $1.2 billion Silk Beauty fund announced last month, was aimed at providing financing to Chinese textile manufacturers, and is being closely watched by global textile companies.
A spokesman for Silk Beauty, Wang Hongfeng, told The Associated Press that the loan was not a sign of the company’s confidence in the Chinese textile market, which he said is undervalued.
China is the world’s largest silk producer, and it accounts for 20% of the global market for the material.
The country’s textile boom is seen as a success story for its once-sleepy industries, which have been left to fend for themselves as global demand has surged.
But in recent years, silk has been on a downward trajectory, with demand in developing nations, especially China, dropping off.
While Silk Beauty has a small, highly-regarded manufacturing facility in southern China, it is also manufacturing in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Malaysia, according to the Silk Beauty website.
More than 100 factories are registered in the country, according the company, and about 300,000 kilograms of silk are made each year.
But while China is a key export market for silk, the country’s economy has shrunk by 20% since 2000, according in a 2015 report by the Asian Development Bank.
And the silk industry is expected to see a further 12% drop in 2017, according an industry group that represents China’s silk-making industry.
The industry is also struggling with an influx of overseas investors, with some investors taking out $6 billion in debt last year, according China Silk Industry Association (CSSIA).
The CSAIA, a trade group, said in a statement last week that it was concerned about the government’s “extreme pressure” on silk factories and investors.
It said the CSAIE was concerned over the “continuing decline” of the industry, which was the main source of earnings for SilkBeauty.
“In light of this trend, we ask the government to help boost silk production,” the statement said.
The CSEAIA said it has filed a complaint with the Financial Services Commission of China (FSOC) to request that the FSUN, the state-owned financial watchdog, examine the SilkBeautys loan.
The FSUn is responsible for supervising financial institutions and their affiliates and for protecting investors from the risks of money laundering, securities fraud and terrorist financing.
It is unclear how the FSOC will proceed.
The regulator is currently investigating Silk Beauty over possible violations of securities law.
Silk Beauty’s director, Chen Yi, declined to comment on the FSSC investigation.
A Silk Beauty spokeswoman said the company was “extremely happy” with the loan and would seek to make further payments to support Silk Beauty and the local silk industry.
China’s textile industry has been hit by the sharp fall in global demand for the fabric, which has led to a sharp rise in the price of the material in the global marketplace.
The sharp drop in the silk price has put the industry at a disadvantage in countries such as China, with a recent study estimating that the average price of silk imports in China has jumped to $10,400 per kilo.
In 2017, China imported nearly 50% of all the silk it needs to make a two kilogram package, according data compiled by the Silk Alliance, an industry advocacy group.
In a statement, Silk Beauty said it would continue to focus on its global business, with plans to expand to other countries.
“As long as we are able to make Silk Beauty products in China in the future, we will continue to do so, and continue to support our partners and customers worldwide,” the company said.