Furniture benefits from symbiotic relations with recovering property industry

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Johari (sixth from right) and Tan (fifth from right) with the representatives of the sponsors and media partners.

Johari (sixth from right) and Tan (fifth from right) with the representatives of strategic and media partners.

KUALA LUMPUR: In the dynamic realm of real estate, the relationship between property and furniture is far from incidental - it is intrinsic and symbiotic. From the meticulous staging of homes to the enhancement of interior aesthetics, furniture serves as both a functional necessity and a powerful tool for elevating the appeal and value of properties. 

As the real estate industry continues to recover, it also generates revenue for the furniture industry. A prime example is the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF), which is the largest furniture trade show in Southeast Asia, which is expected to rake in US$1.3bil (RM6.2bil) in sales.

In addition to the real estate and furniture industry synergy, the latter is also the most dynamic downstream activity in the timber value chain and timber, being one of the sectors that is also vital to the Malaysian economy.

“As such, the furniture industry) will remain the key driver of timber industry growth. It is also one of the most successful stories of Malaysian SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” said Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani when officiating at the official opening of MIFF.

With a record number of 714 exhibitors from 15 countries, the four-day event, from March 1 to 4, 2024 is held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC).

“Trade shows such as MIFF play a vital role in facilitating trade and reaching out to new markets. Under the National Agricommodity Policy 2021-2030, the export value of timber and timber products is targeted to hit RM28 billion by 2025 and RM32.8 billion by 2030,” he said.

Johari noted that there had been a downward trend for international trade in timber and timber products by 13.2%. “This is largely due to a weakening in housing demand in the United States, which is the biggest buyer of Malaysian furniture and accounts for over half of the country's furniture exports.

“Despite these challenging times, there are always opportunities for us to grab. Malaysian furniture companies must remain competitive and capitalise on future trends to target the right consumer groups.

“We must tap on e-commerce platforms as an exciting new track for business growth to extend our reach to consumers in faraway markets,” he said.

MIFF chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat said this is the 30th anniversary for MIFF since its inception in 1995, adding that this year is another record year for MIFF.

"We have expanded from 15 to 17 exhibition halls and there is a 6% increase in exhibitors from last year,” he said, pointing out that the fair showcased Malaysian furniture and the dynamic skills of the local furniture makers.

“Malaysian furniture makers have grown from local companies to become global exporters. Over the next four days, we expect to welcome 20,000 visitors from all over the world,” Tan added.

Also present at the event were Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation deputy chief executive officer Abu Bakar Yusof, Forest Research Institute Malaysia's Forest Products Division director Dr Wan Tarmeze Wan Ariffin, Malaysian Timber Industry Board chairman Datuk Larry Sng Wei Shien, Malaysian Timber Council deputy chief executive officer Mokhtar Mohd Yaacob, Muar Furniture Association president Steve Ong, Star Media Group chief business officer Lydia Wang and FEM Mediahaus director Verginia Lim. 


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