Wax, this magic word is just a piece of fabric, generally very colourful and known as "African fabric" because it is strongly ingrained into the African style and culture by the type of design used.
I remember when i was young ( i lived in Ivory Coast), maybe five years old, my grandmother always closed very carefully her Wardrobe because it contained she said her most beautiful outfits : Wax Fabrics. Even today, the big wish of my grandmother is not to come to see Paris but that I bring her Wax Fabrics from France. And I did'nt understand why because in my mind the best Wax were obviously in Africa not in Europe! But i was wrong, Wax is produced in Europe (Hollande) and then distributed in Africa and it has always been like this...
The current market of Wax is dominated by the group VLISCO. This Dutch firm operates since 1846 and its market share in 2003 was estimated to 75% in West Africa, so there is no doubt that Vlisco is the undeniable leader. Today, the challenge Vlisco is facing is to compete with the invasion of Chinese products in the African market. Since 2007 Vlisco has adopted a new brand image by positioning itself in the "luxury" (or maybe premium) segment, so its products are synonymous of high quality and high prices. On the contrary, Chinese products have a mass market position with low quality and cheap products.
Adding to the competition, Vlisco has to struggle against counterfeit, indeed most of Chinese products are just copies of real Dutch Wax. Just to give you an idea of the impact on the figures : according to Stéphane Lesueur (DG of Vlisco Africa) , the turnover of Vlisco in Burkina Faso has dropped to 50% in 2003 since the appearance of these "chinoiseries".
Ok i think i'm going to stop here... it's not a course of Economy ;-)