Maintaining and elevating Việt Nam's wood and furniture industry

July 10, 2024 - 10:13
Việt Nam is the world's fifth-largest exporter of wood and wooden products, second in Asia and leading in Southeast Asia.
At the 'Decoding Business' talk show in Hà Nội City. — Photo courtesy of HAWA

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's wood industry has firmly established itself on the international market, with an annual export value exceeding US$10 billion. This positions Việt Nam as the world's fifth-largest exporter of wood and wooden products, second in Asia, and leading in Southeast Asia.

However Nguyễn Quốc Khanh, Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), emphasised the importance of maintaining this position and learning from other industries. He highlighted the example of the textile industry, where Việt Nam was surpassed by Bangladesh due to slower adoption of sustainable practices.

With rapid urbanisation, Việt Nam sees 70-80 million square metres of new housing constructed annually, increasing the demand for interior and exterior furniture. One crucial goal is to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese wood, furniture, and handicraft enterprises compared to foreign-invested companies. This involves shifting from Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) to Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) to increase the value of 'Made in Việt Nam' products.

Nguyễn Quốc Khanh also pointed out that many Vietnamese companies currently operate as OEMs, manufacturing for large foreign brands. Enhancing national brand recognition is a challenge, but also a significant opportunity for domestic enterprises.

HAWA representatives noted that Việt Nam's wood and wood product exports are growing, driven by positive signals from markets like the US and the EU. The US remains the largest market, accounting for 55 per cent of Việt Nam's wood export value.

Staying abreast of the latest trends in the US market is crucial for Vietnamese companies to meet consumer preferences. Despite not being in peak season, Việt Nam exports $1.2-1.4 billion worth of wood products monthly. With current growth rates, the peak shopping season later in the year could see monthly exports reach $1.6-1.8 billion, aiming for a total of $17.5 billion in 2024.

The 'Decoding Business' talk show on July 8 in Hà Nội brought together architects, designers and experts from various fields to discuss topics around the business of wood production, such as communication, branding, business, and technology in the furniture and construction sectors. This event is part of the Vietnam Interior & Build Expo (VIBE), which will take place from October 2-5 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC).

The VIBE expo will feature 45 product groups across eight categories related to interior, construction and digital services, showcasing equipment, furniture, construction materials and smart technology solutions. — VNS