|Wooden chairs are produced at Phu Quy Wood Processing Plant in the central province of Quang Binh's Dong Hoi Industrial Zone. Local wood and handicraft companies have been urged to seek new markets to increase consumption. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HCM CITY (VNS)— Seeking new markets will increase consumption of locally made wooden and handicraft products, a seminar heard yesterday in HCM City.
At the seminar, leading experts in the field outlined the potential and limits of the local wooden and handicraft industry and ways to find new customers in new and traditional markets.
Nguyen Chanh Phuong, a member of the Handicrafts and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa)'s executive board, said Viet Nam's wooden industry had struggled in the past three years due to the impact of the economic crisis.
With the world economy still sluggish, this year will continue to be a difficult year for local furniture exporters, he said.
Local companies will have to reform their trading methods and seek new export markets as well as increasing exports to traditional markets, he said.
"The Middle East, India, Singapore and Malaysia are among the potential markets that local furniture companies should pay more attention to this year," he said.
Phuong called on local firms to conduct market surveys and understand consumers' taste to develop more suitable products.
Nguyen Ngoc Hung, general director of Dun&Bradstreet Viet Nam, said that, as the housing market in the US recovered, demand for furniture products was expected to increase.
Local companies should take this opportunity to increase exports to the market, he said.
Herb Cochran, executive director of Amcham, said local companies had many opportunities to export their products to the US.
However, they must comply with strict requirements on product quality and safety as well as labour and working conditions set by the US.
Regarding global design trends, Dam Huy Binh, Dun&Bradstreet Viet Nam's business development director, said foreign buyers were looking for green, sustainable and healthy designs, multi-functional designs, and alternative materials.
Speaking at the seminar, Nguyen Thi Hanh, head representative of the E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency in HCM City, said that exporters must actively seek new outlets and restructure their organisations.
She urged local exporters to use e-commerce to promote their brands and expand their markets.
"With e-commerce, local businesses can communicate with customers better, promote their products more efficiently and reduce costs and increase profits," she said.
Despite economic difficulties worldwide, the industry earned US$4.67 billion from exports last year, a year-on-year increase of 17.9 per cent.
The seminar was jointly hosted by HAWA and Dun&Bradstreet with FedEx and AIG Viet Nam Insurance Company — VNS