Enhancing designs to back furniture industry growth

By Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA, March 22 (PNA) — Improving design capabilities will support the furniture industry growth target of up to 10 percent and will make the Philippines as the “Milan of Asia,” Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) executive director Salvio Valenzuela Jr. said.

Valenzuela cited three programs to enhance furniture designs: the design development incubator program; the green furniture program; and the material manipulation program.

“The outlook (for the industry) is positive. We are hoping that at least we get 5 to 10 percent… Basically, we focus on design. All these programs are geared towards improving the image of the country and live up to the term that is coined for us which is the ‘Milan of Asia’,” he said.

He added that furniture exporters are also improving their marketing capabilities as they eye to tap new markets such as ASEAN, Qatar, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) markets.

“We are gearing out with traditional marketing campaign so we modify the approach based on our research and how other competitors are doing it. So basically, we are benchmarking from the practices of other countries,” the CFIP official said.

From January to November 2013, furniture exports revenue was posted at USD 231 million, higher than the same period of 2012’s export revenue of USD 145 million.

Bulk of these exports went to the markets of the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, other European countries and Indonesia.

However, even with the growing furniture export revenue last year, the Philippines is still behind other ASEAN Furniture Industries Council (AFIC) members such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In the first nine months of 2013, exports revenue of furniture industry in Malaysia was posted at USD 1.69 billion; Indonesia, USD 1.28 billion; Singapore, USD 153.09 million; Thailand, USD 879.4 million; and Vietnam, USD 3.87 billion. (PNA)