Furniture industry urged to leverage on EMs to boost export sales

The buyers were from India, China, Indonesia, Japan, S. Korea, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar

By NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade), and the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC) expect local companies to leverage on the emerging markets (EMs) to boost furniture exports.

MFC president Chua Chun Chai said the company plans to take advantage of EMs such as India and China’s rapid growth to boost its exports.

“China is an important market in terms of exports. Our exports to China saw a 40% leap in 2017,” he said at the International Sourcing Programme (INSP) in conjunction with the Export Furniture Exhibition (EFE) media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Matrade lifestyle and life sciences director Abu Bakar Yusof (picture) said although the focus is on EMs, the company will not neglect existing buyers.

“Established markets are equally important to us. Around 30% of our furniture exports are also channelled to the US,” he said.

The INSP at the EFE which ran from March 9 till 12, 2018, collected RM34.25 million in export sales, compared to the RM19.92 million recorded previously.

The programme witnessed 500 pre-arranged business meetings organised between 40 Malaysian companies and 64 foreign buyers.

The buyers were from 24 countries which included India, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar.

Among the product s sourced were bedroom sets, sofas, dining tables, chairs and shelves.

Abu Bakar said the INSP’s purpose is to attract more international buyers to source for local furniture.

“The initiative is part of Matrade’s strategies to enhance market access for local furniture industry and at the same time promote Malaysian-made furniture to the world,” he said.

Malaysia recorded a 6.4% or RM10.14 million year-on-year growth in furniture export in 2017.

Eighty percent of the exports comprise wooden furniture followed by seats, its parts as well as metal furniture.