The Government would like to see more Malaysian furniture makers making their mark in the international market, said the Malaysian External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) chairman Datuk Mah Siew Keong.
Stating that Malaysia furniture is known for its good quality, he urged the manufacturers to move up the value chain and reap greater profits through design and differentiation.
“Buyers no longer see furniture solely as functional items, but also look at its intrinsic value such as design,” he said yesterday at the prize presentation ceremony for the MIFF Furniture Design Competition, Best Presentation Award and Furniture Excellence Award in conjunction with the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF 2013).
Mah added with the emergence of fast moving IT-savvy generation and modernisation, Malaysia furniture producers should focus on design and invest in design promotion'.
“Companies should emulate how successful designers promote their designs at premium prices by creating the background story for each of the products developed,” he noted
According to the Centre of Industrial Studies, in 2011, Malaysia was ranked as the eighth largest furniture exporter in the world, with 67% of the local production being exported to countries such as the United States, Japan, Singapore, Australia and United Kingdom.
Moving forward, Mah said Malaysia needs to diversify its export market especially in Asean, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, South Asia and Central Europe.
MIFF 2013 is being held from March 5 to 9 at the Putra World Trade Center, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and Matrade Exhibition & Convention Centre.
It is organised by MIFF and UBM Malaysia, while The Star is the official media partner.
For the MIFF furniture design competition, the winners were Taylor's University student Kok Wen Yee and Universiti Sains Malaysia student Emmy Kok Pek Kei.
Both received the RM10,000 top prize for their design titled Jemore Board' and Unity Table' respectively.
The award serves as a platform for aspiring and young designers to showcase their talent and innovativeness in furniture design.
This year's competition theme was “A Tribute to Shapes and Colours of Malaysia”.
For the Best Presentation Award, it was divided into three categories - The Bare Space Booth, The Shell Scheme Booth and The Non-Furniture category.
SJY Furniture (M) Sdn Bhd bagged the best Bare Space Booth award, while Gaoya Furniture Industries Sdn Bhd won the Shell Scheme Booth and for the Non-Furniture category was won by Premier Weaver Sdn Bhd.
This year, the Furniture Excellence Award awarded three winners, compared to the previous award which had only one winner.
The winners of the platinum award are Resinas Olot Ltd (House Furniture Cathegory), Oasis Furniture Industries Sdn Bhd (Office Furniture Category) and Sin Lin Lee Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (Judges' Commendation Award).