KUALA LUMPUR: Increasing demand for Malaysian furniture products coupled with innovation in the industry will ensure the growth of the Malaysian furniture industry.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said demand for local rubberwood is very high.
“It’s in great demand and I have been told that they are facing shortage (in the market) due to the high demand,” he said, adding that with innovation, the same demand could be created for furniture made of oil palm trees.
He said as 2017 had been declared the Year of the Internet Economy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he hoped local furniture industry players would utilise the digital marketplace for a wider reach.
He said the expected growth for the export of furniture products this year is 5% compared with 4.2% or RM9.53bil in 2016.
“The world economy is tough now but we can achieve it,” he said.
He also said that in five years Malaysia would be the fifth largest exporter of furniture in the world.
The country, he said, was now the eighth largest exporter globally.
Mah was speaking to reporters after the launch of the 2017 Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF).
MIFF founder and chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat said MIFF would continue to enhance its position as the most important event for the furniture industry in South-East Asia.
“Our exhibitors are also moving with the times. They are investing in research and development (R&D) to come up with their own designs and new products, creating more value for their business and potential customers,” said Tan.
He added that MIFF 2017 is expecting about 20,000 visitors, 6,000 of whom are international buyers from 140 countries.
MIFF 2017 is being held at the Putra World Trade Centre until Sunday.
There will be seminars held by various speakers throughout the fair, including architect and interior designer Enrico G. Cleva, who designed the Moleskine office in Milan and Dr Eric Leong of The One Academy Malaysia.