By Tuong Nguyen - The Saigon Times Daily
|Foreign visitors look at a sample of wooden furniture designed by students at VIFA EXPO - Photo: Uyen Vien
HCMC - Wooden furniture producers still have many advantages in cutting costs and improving product quality to sharpen their competitiveness in the international market, said a local industry source at a furniture exhibition in HCMC on March 11.
Huynh Van Hanh, vice chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCMC (HAWA), said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition VIFA EXPO that among the ten biggest wooden furniture exporting countries, Vietnam enjoys good conditions to boost competitiveness.
“Vietnam has many advantages in terms of production potential and opportunities. If there are right policies, Vietnam can raise its global market share from the current 1.5% to 5% in the next five years, meaning additional revenue of US$15 billion,” Hanh said at the seventh Vietnam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair (VIFA EXPO).
The total export turnover of Vietnam’s wooden furniture this year is predicted to reach more than US$6.5 billion, increasing by 20% compared with nearly US$5.6 billion in 2013, while domestic sales of the industry are estimated at US$2 billion.
This year’s VIFA EXPO features many domestic wooden furniture producers with their newest indoor and outdoor products using environmentally friendly materials that can compete with products from Thailand, Malaysia and China.
The number of foreign viewers coming to the expo on the morning of March 11 is higher than expectation of the organizer.
“We have equipped six computers and four printers to give updated information about foreign customers visiting the fair but such machines are still overloaded as the number is big. In the next three days if foreign viewers continue to come like this morning then it would be a success that goes far beyond our expectations,” he said.
VIFA EXPO, held in four days at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC’s District 7 by the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, HAWA and HAWA Corporation, has seen participation of 141 enterprises with 625 stalls, up 3% over last year, of which 18% belongs to nine foreign countries and territories such as Belgium, Denmark, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
The stall displaying products that won Vietnam’s Apricot 2013-2014 award, an annual wooden furniture designing contest held by HAWA, attracted many foreign customers as the products show unique designing ideas and is useful for houses in cities.