Nguyen Chien Thang, director of HCM City-based wood products maker Scansia Pacific, said his company has export orders for the whole year, which are 25 per cent up from 2017.
Visitors at the VIFA-EXPO 2017 in HCM City last year. VIFA-EXPO this year will be held in HCM City’s Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from March 7-10.
“The orders are from existing buyers. There are many new buyers who want to place orders with us, but we dare not take them because we are afraid we cannot fulfil them.
“Currently we are focused on buying more machines to ensure production for export.”
Huynh Van Hanh, permanent deputy chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa), told a press briefing to introduce the Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair 2018 (VIFA-EXPO 2018): “We are very optimistic about the market situation this year since most enterprises have export orders for until middle of the year and some have orders for until the end of this year like Cam Ha in Da Nang and Scansia Pacific.
“We fully believe that the target of earning US$8.66 billion from exports of wood and wooden products is easy to achieve.”
Exports of wood and wooden products have increased by 12.3 per cent a year on average for the past seven years, reaching $7.66 billion last year, he said.
Global furniture demand was worth more than $428 billion last year. Trade in furniture amounted to $141 billion last year, with China being the largest exporter, accounting for 35 per cent, followed by Germany, Italy, Poland, and Viet Nam.
But among the main furniture production areas, only the Asia-Pacific saw positive production growth.
With reasonable economic growth, global furniture consumption and trade are forecast to grow by 3.5 per cent and 4.1 per cent this year, Hanh said.
Exports from Viet Nam accounted for only 6 per cent of the figure, meaning there is considerable scope for Vietnamese firms to increase their market share, he said.
To capitalise on the demand, woodworking firms need to invest more in upgrading their production technologies and embrace automation to improve productivity, ensure consistent quality and resolve their labour shortage problem, he said.
Besides, they need to improve their design capacity to add more value to their products and improve their management skills, he said.
He also suggested that firms should pay more attention to the middle high-end segment and be developing multi-functional products for the US and EU markets.
Talking about raw materials, he said he has no worries about any timber shortage.
He said forests grown on public lands and rubber and fruit trees provide 50 per cent of the timber needed for the industry and the rest is imported from many countries with clear origins.
The industry needs to access markets on a national scale so that foreign customers know “Viet Nam is a nation producing wood products from legal timber sources.”
The 11th VIFA-EXPO will be held in HCM City from March 7 to 10 with the participation of 450 local and foreign exhibitors, who will put up 1,980 booths on an area of 30,000sq.m, 29 per cent more than last year.
The number of foreign exhibitors this year is also much higher than last year, Hanh said.
They are from Singapore, Taiwan, the US, Australia, Russia, Canada, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, South Korea, and others.
Organised by the city Department of Industry and Trade, Hawa, and Hawa Corporation, the fair would display a wide range of indoor and outdoor furniture, handicrafts, and interior furnishing and accessories, Hanh said.
He added that 2,120 visitors from 95 countries and territories have registered so far to visit the fair.
To be held at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7, the fair will also feature an awards ceremony for the Hoa Mai Prize.