In 1959, Chinese invasion of Tibet resulted in thousands of Tibetans walking through the Himalayan mountains in search of a new home. Many settled in Kathmandu and brought their carpet weaving skills with them. In ensuing years, Tibetan carpet weaving factories sprung up in the Kathmandu Valley. Initially, small rugs were produced for the growing number of tourists visiting Nepal. In the 70s, German buyers recognized the charm and beauty of Tibetan carpets and began to buy and distribute the designs throughout Europe. In the 80s, Tibetan carpet production became the nation's leading industry and it wasn't long before rugs were being designed and imported to the United States for the American market.
It is important to note that since the Chinese invasion and the subsequent nationalization of the rug weaving industry in Tibet, the best quality Tibetan rugs currently being manufactured on a commercial scale are those produced in Nepal by Tibetan refugees. Tibetan carpets produced in India and other parts of the world utilize wool of a lesser quality and are inferior to those produced in Nepal.