Portuguese furniture manufacturers focus on quality to compete in China

29 November 2005

Lisbon, Portugal 28 Nov – Portuguese businesses in the furniture manufacturing industry are happy to see competing products from China increase in price because that increases the competitiveness of products made in Portugal, the secretary-general of the sector’s association told Macauhub.

Rui Ramos, secretary-general of the Portuguese association of furniture manufacturers (APIMA), said that market reports showed that the price of furniture, which was very low in China compared with European countries, had increased between 20 and 30% in the last two years due to strong demand.

“In the future it is likely that the difference in price between production costs in Portugal and China will north be as big as it is today,” which increases competitiveness of Portuguese exports, thanks to the added-value of design and quality, Ramos said.

In March 2005 APIMA undertook a business mission to China in order to identify potential partners with which the Portuguese furniture industry may do business. APIM took 15 Portuguese businessmen on the trip, which included visiting the 11th Furniture China show.

China is a world giant in furniture manufacturing, but as its industry is focused on production line manufacturing at low cost, European manufacturers believe they can find a niche in the market by focusing on quality and design.

Currently, exports to China were very low, but the association aimed to change that situation, Ramos said. To do this it would take part in the main furniture fairs in the market, he said.

The move into the Chinese market, carried out with support of the Portuguese export institute, ICEP Portugal, would begin in 2007 after a year f preparation, Ramos said.

“We are going to deal with the market patiently, so we can go in with a strong high quality image, and so that are products can be seen positively,” Ramos said.

According to Ramos this would require careful preparation to take part in the fairs, selection of participating companies, ways of presenting the products and appropriate communication materials.

“There are great opportunities,” in the Chinese market, Ramos said, “we will have to work hard to show what is Portuguese, and the highest quality we have to offer”.

“China is a very large market. Any percentage represents an enormous quantity,” to Portuguese exports, he added. (macauhub)