Malaysian Furniture Exports Set to Strengthen Foothold in Japan

Malaysia’s participation in the IFFT 2004 was truly a design enhancement activity, thrusting into limelight an exciting collection of Japanese-specific designs to exhibit. Showcasing an impressive collection of original Malaysian designs custom tailored in the Japanese spatial context, the Malaysian Pavilion was organised with the support by the Malaysian Furniture Industry Council (MFIC) and the MFPC’s Japanese consultant, Toyo Furniture Research Co. Ltd. (TFR).

“Our successful debut at the IFFT 2003 inspired us to command for the positive responses from Japan at this year’s exhibition. Our new showcase of Malaysian furniture tailored especially to the Japanese ideals proved to be very well received at the fair, garnering favourable feedback.  This collection not only conformed to the Japanese standards, but also appealed to the Japanese taste,” says Paul Wang, MFPC’s Chief Operating Officer.

The MFPC, as the promotional body entrusted by the Government to elevate the performance and status of the Malaysian furniture industry in the international arena, has identified Japan as one of Malaysia’s most important markets. Malaysia’s participation in the IFFT 2004 was to reaffirm the positioning of Malaysian furniture in the Japanese market.

The Malaysian Pavilion was an avenue for Malaysian furniture industry players to meet and interact with their Japanese counterparts. To reflect its array of display and to continue with the IFFT 2003’s success, the showcase was aptly themed “Malaysian Style … Japanese Taste.”

This fair gave Malaysian manufacturers the opportunity to show their capability in catering to the Japanese unique tastes and special requirements. The Japanese consumers are renowned for their emphasis on quality and safety standards. Thus, based on this main selection criterion, the showcase fulfilled the Japanese high expectation of performance with Malaysia’s innovative design, consistency, stability, durability and ease of installation.

According to the MFPC’s Chairman, Y Bhg Tan Sri Dr Abdullah bin Mohd Tahir, “As one of Malaysia’s most important markets, it was vital that the Japanese buyers be presented with the best of Malaysian furniture at this year’s showcase. We have brought to them a selection of Malaysian furniture industry players whose product attributes measure up to the Japanese high expectation of performance. I believe that from this fair’s warm reception, the Japanese will continue to find Malaysia a reliable source for furniture that caters to the Japanese market requirements.”

In addition to the IFFT, the platform was set for the Malaysian furniture exports to strengthen its position in Japan based on the agreement signed between the MFPC and TFR in October 2004. The signing ceremony finalised TFR as MFPC’s consultant in Japan.
In his remarks Wang said, “The IFFT 2004 was a successful continuation from last year, portraying the versatility of Malaysian furniture in the Japanese context. Hence, Japanese buyers are aware of quality Malaysian furniture that caters to its market’s requirements, incorporating the strong Japanese culture and values. MFPC’s collaboration with TFR will capitalise on this advantage and support the Malaysian furniture industrialists with pre-requisite study, objective analysis and practical information to equip Malaysian furniture manufacturers and exporters adequately for an effective market position in Japan.”

The Japanese market as the second most important export destination in the Malaysian furniture industry will continue to play an influential role in the years to come. “In realisation of this fact, the MFPC has earmarked the penetration of Malaysian furniture into the contract sector of the Japanese market as our key element for Malaysia’s future excellence. At IFFT 2004, we received many delegations from Japanese housing developers, property owners, interior designers and architects, who were very impressed with the possibilities and opportunities offered by Malaysian furniture into the medium-higher market segments,” Wang added.   

As part of the long term programme, several road shows has been planned within strategic geographical areas targeting at Japanese furniture buyers, housing developers, interior designers and retail chain stores. In addition, a year long publicity programme highlighting Malaysian furniture was also planned to complement MFPC in its approach to position Malaysia as a global focal point for world class furniture.