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International furniture & home accessories fair to open in HCM City this month

VIETNAM, August 19 - HCM CITY — The first Vietnam ASEAN International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair will be held in HCM City’s Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from August 29 to September 1, featuring nearly 200 exhibitors in 600 booths.

VIFA ASEAN 2023 will see the participation of many reputable local and international furniture and handicraft manufacturers, including those from the US, Korea, China, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

The fair showcases brand new and diverse products such as wooden furniture, indoor and outdoor furniture, decorative products, handicrafts, gifts and souvenirs, and timber and woodworking machinery, said Đặng Quốc Hùng, director of the Alliance Handicraft Wooden Fine Art Corporation (Liên Minh Company), one of the fair’s organisers.

The highlight of the fair is the "ASEAN House" at the central area of the fair to introduce quintessential products and unique cultural features of ASEAN countries, honouring the region’s traditional cultural values while introducing the region’s featured products to international buyers, he said.

Although it is being held for the first time, VIFA ASEAN 2023 has so far attracted registration from more than 2,000 international visitors to visit the show, Hùng told a press conference to introduce the fair in HCM City on August 17.

Hùng said that exports of wooden products in the first seven months of the year were down by 25 per cent over the same period last year to US$7.1 billion.

Inflation and economic recession in many countries, especially Việt Nam’s key export markets, have made customers tighten their spending on furniture products.

Faced with a slump in export orders, woodworking firms have been striving to stay afloat in various ways, including participating in trade fairs to seek new customers, he said.

“With exports to their traditional markets plunging, firms seek to export to new markets such as the Middle East, Africa and ASEAN. In particular, businesses are looking to penetrate the ASEAN market via VIFA ASEAN 2023,” he said.

Trần Hoài Hữu, director of Gia Nhiên Co., Ltd, said his company has seen a sharp drop in orders, especially from the US, its key market.

The company has managed to find new orders by participating in international trade fairs and exhibitions, and promoting its products on Alibaba e-commerce platform, along with slashing prices of their products to retain existing customers.

After a lot of effort, in recent days his company has welcomed many new customers who ask for information. It is likely that in the coming days it will get orders from two new customers in the Netherlands and Poland, he said.

Wood producers and exporters are pinning high hopes on trade fairs and expos, he said.

Trần Ngọc Liêm, director of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCM City branch, said Southeast Asia is one of the world's leading manufacturing and supplying centres of interior and exterior furniture and handicrafts. Việt Nam is the region’s leading exporter of the products and the second in Asia. Therefore, finding markets for enterprises in the industry is very important.

At present, intra-regional trade for wooden products is about $3 billion, but Việt Nam’s exports to the region remain modest at less than $100 million. The fair will offer an opportunity for businesses to find new international customers, including those in the region, he said.

There are many forms of trade promotion, but fairs and exhibitions remain an effective channel to attract a large number of domestic and foreign buyers, thus bringing practical benefits to participants. Through those fairs and exhibitions, buyers can have direct look at products, visit factories to verify suppliers' capacity, and have more confidence to sign orders, he added.

The fair is organised by Liên Minh Company, the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Việt Nam Coconut Association. — VNS