A WAVE of mergers recently has swept over the textile industry in Shanghai, giving some hope to a traditional industry which has been on a downhill slide for years, says Xinhua (the New China News Agency). Shanghai No 9 knitting mill, which since 1991 had merged four money-losing factories, had not been brought down by the rapid acquisitions, as some people had feared. Instead, the robust company had increased its total assets by four times in four years, and its Three Guns-brand knitwear now was bringing in one billion yuan (about HK$918 million) a year in sales, said Xinhua. According to Jiang Guangyu, director of the Shanghai Textiles Bureau, the number of money-losing textile mills was cut to 42 last year from 142 in 1992, thanks to large-scale mergers. The acquisitions had breathed new life into the ageing industry in China's oldest textile production centre, Mr Jiang said. Sales and exports both jumped by 30 per cent in the first quarter, compared to the last quarter of 1994.