Wool, as a raw material, is impure in nature. So, the industry should be located, at least in theory, near raw material source.
Though, the general distribution of woollen industry all over the world suggests that market exerts maximum influence on the location pattern, for example, most of the highly productive woollen manufacturing units are located within the markets of Western Europe.
On the other hand, the principal wool producing areas of Southern Hemisphere are not very developed in the manufacturing of woollen goods.
Raw wool is prepared in the temperate and sub-tropical areas. Though sheep rearing is a popular occupation in the sub-tropical countries, especially by nomadic herders, most of the woollen product is generally consumed by higher latitude people.
Most of the raw wools are produced in the regions of:
1. The Oceania region, comprising New Zealand and Australia.
2. The Latin American region, comprising Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Bolivia.
3. The South African region.
These three regions together contribute more than half of the raw wool requirement of the world. Though sheep rearing and wool production is highly developed in this region, woollen industry as such is not very developed in the region.
The major reasons for the poor development of woollen industry are:
(i) The countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina is situated in the sub-tropical region. The winter is not too harsh. The local consumption is, therefore, not very high.
(ii) These countries are industrially ill-developed. The necessary infrastructure for woollen industry is absent.
(iii) These are sparsely populated countries and cannot provide large market.
(iv) The manual labour is expensive and inadequate in these countries. -§>>
Important Centres CIS
1. Its early centres developed around Volga basin and around Moscow.
2. The leading woollen goods manufacturing centres are Moscow-Tula, Leningrad, Central Region, Kazakhstan and Caucasus.
The major factors that encouraged the all-round progress of woollen industry in its early period of development are:
1. Availability of cheap power resources, particularly hydel power.
2. High productivity rate per worker.
3. Low cost of production.
4. Low consumption with the country.
The major wool producing centres are located within Tokyo-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Hemaji, Osaka, Nagasaki, etc.
United States of America
The early centres of woollen production are near New England region. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the reputed centres. The other renowned centres are Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Georgia and New Jersey.
The factors responsible for early localisation of woollen industries are:
1. Large-scale sheep rearing in northern grasslands.
2. Favourable cooler climate.
3. Easy availability of hydel power.
4. Steady market and available skilled workers, particularly, the people migrated from Lancashire, UK.
Like cotton textile industry, woollen industry in the USA had also experienced a massive migration from New England to Southern states particularly to Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
United Kingdom in America
The early localization factors were:
1. The climate of Yorkshire was ideal. The soft-water supply was an added advantage.
2. The abundant power supply from Penine coal and hydel power.
3. Steady market, not only in Britain but also abroad.
Unlike cotton textile, which declined rapidly, woollen goods production in Britain survived and produced consistently, though its relative dominance has gone down considerably. The rise of demand in home market helped immensely for the survival of woollen industry in the United Kingdom.
At present, important producing centres are Leeds and Bradford. The UK is now not self-sufficient in raw wool production.