To Brigde the Gap to the ‘NEW’ Europe Furniture Market

A National Furniture Seminar entitled “Opportunities in the New Europe Market and Its Challenges” is being held on 8 June 2004.

Organised by the Malaysian Furniture Promotion Council (MFPC), this seminar is an effort to encourage Malaysian furniture industry players to penetrate the medium to high end European market. Speaking at this seminar will be Europe’s leading furniture expert, Mr. Franz Schäfer from Germany.  The National Furniture Seminar was officiated by YB Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Malaysia.

From 1979 to 2003, Mr. Schäfer was the Editor-in-Chief of Mobelmarkt, perhaps the most important furniture publication in Europe focusing on the 20.3 billion euros worth of German furniture market. Mobelmarkt is globally renowned for its keen economic observation, high competence in international research and comprehensive market information. The magazine is working closely with organisations such as FENA (European Federation of Furniture Retailers) and has international contact partners all over the world.

“Banking on his immense knowledge and profound expertise in Europe’s furniture industry, this seminar is an opportunity for Malaysian furniture manufacturers to obtain resourceful insights about the region and its multi-faceted furniture market vital for the kick start of a successful European venture,” says Mr. Paul Wang, Chief Operating Officer, MFPC.
Mr Schafer will be addressing the 200 strong participation with first hand information on the opportunities that abound in the relatively untapped European markets for the Malaysian furniture manufacturing and export industry. In Germany alone, the largest EU market, Malaysia accounts for less than 1 % of their total imports. Now with the EU being enlarged to 25 countries, the opportunities are astounding.

“In the EU markets, Malaysia’s competition does not come from traditional rivals such as China and Vietnam, it actually comes from other nearby East European countries with strong furniture manufacturing capabilities as well as advantages such as logistics, currency and language. The seminar will address such points and also stimulate the Malaysian industrialists to find ways and means of countering their competition.” Wang added.

The MFPC is the organisation tasked with promoting and developing the Malaysian furniture manufacturing and export industry as a substantial foreign exchange earning sector of the national economy. It is a specialised promotion council initiated by the Government in recognition of the importance and contribution of furniture export to the Malaysian economy.

Established in 2003, it endeavours to effectively establish Malaysia as a globally recognised source of world-class furniture. In realising this vision, the MFPC continues to embark on national, regional and international promotional efforts, augment and maximise the potential of Malaysian furniture manufacturers and exporters, and advocate Malaysian furniture excellence through design creativity and product innovation.

The MFPC endeavours to identify and implement suitable programs and strategies that will facilitate the progress of the sector and further enhance Malaysia’s image as global furniture player. Among its top priorities are global promotion, product development, design creativity, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and international image enhancement.
“To realise its missions, the MFPC focus on a two-prong strategy namely Market Enhancement and Design Enhancement. The former emphasises on the evaluation of present markets and exploration of new markets while consistently appraising the industry. The latter focuses on propagating the creation of international furniture designs by Malaysians.” explains Wang.

To this end, the MFPC will conduct a series of strategically planned projects under its Market Enhancement, Design Enhancement and Corporate Communication departments over the years and hopes that the industry’s high level of participation will be forthcoming in order to ensure success and effectiveness of the objectives.

Among the activities already in progress by the MFPC are the Furniture Design Services Programme and the fully equipped Furniture Design Workshop for 24 hr use by the designers under the programme. The MFPC has also planned for Malaysia’s participation at major international furniture events as well as road shows and trade/study missions to targeted markets around the world.”

The MFPC works very closely with the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Malaysia, the Malaysian Furniture Industry Council (MFIC), the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), and the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).