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Asia Pacific. High Performiong Market For Office Furniture


Asia Pacific market for office furniture in ten countries Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (excluding India and China) is estimated by CSIL to be worth USD 7 billion. Over the last decade, the area grew by 4% on average, each year. Around 11% of the market is currently satisfied by imported office furniture (USD 806 million), recording an average annual growth of +10% since 2003. Office furniture production is mainly destined for the local market, while just 8% is exported outside the region. Malaysia is the leading exporter of the area, with a share of 47% of total office furniture export. Japan and Australia are the leading importers, with 37% and 23% of total office furniture import in Asia Pacific. the leading supplier of office furniture for all these countries is China, providing about 60% of total imports.


JAPAN, THE LARGEST MARKETPLACE After the earthquake in 2011, Japan economy has been experiencing a recovery. Japanese imports of office furniture are worth over USD 300 million and 83% of total imports are office seating. China and Taiwan are top two suppliers: together they provide more than 80% of total Japanese imports. Major customers for office furniture in Japan are governmental agencies, industrial firms and trade organisations. the traditional distribution chain ‘producer- wholesaler-retailer’ is increasingly losing ground, due to the existence of important commercial ties among smaller local producers (OEM) and large assemblers/distributors known as Brand name Makers (Okamura, Kokuyo, Itoki, etc.). These companies are present throughout the country with an impressive distribution network. Foreign brands in Japan are mainly distributed through a large network of local corporations. Kokuyo controls Wilkhahn Japan Co., Ltd., Okamura is importer of Wiesner Hager, Fora Form and Wogg (just to mention a few), Kurogane Kosakusho has commercial agreement with Steelcase and Dauphin.


AUSTRALIA TO DEVELOP OFFICES AND HOTELS Australia’s 22 million inhabitants are mainly concentrated in metropolitan areas like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the first ten months of 2013 the value of total non-residential building approved (94% coming from the private sector) rose by 10% on the previous year. 170,500 sqm. office spaces are under construction in Melbourne, expected to be completed by 2015. 68% is pre-committed. In Brisbane there are three large office buildings under construction (totaling 188,000 sqm), reportedly to be completed not earlier than 2016. With its estimated stock of 136,000 hotel rooms, Australia is expected to increase its pipeline both in the tourist and business hotel premises. Australian imports of office furniture amounted to USD 185 million in 2012 (+5% on the previous year), coming mainly from the Asia and Pacific Area (84% of total imports). Australia’s major trading partner is China, accounting for 55% of total imports. Taiwan, New Zealand, US and Malaysia followed. Office furniture distribution in Australia is partially in the hand of the largest local manufacturers, who also act as major importers of international brands. The role of local distributors, mainly organized as interior design studios, is also relevant. Schiavello, widely known in Australia as a leading supplier, is the leading local company with over 1,000 employees, 10 showrooms and 6 manufacturing plants in operation.


SINGAPORE, THE REGIONAL HUB The office furniture market in Singapore is highly penetrated by imported products from Malaysia and China. Some of the largest companies with headquarters in Singapore operate production facilities in Malaysia, China and Indonesia. This is particularly true for the office seating segment. Singapore is a main hub, not only for the local market but also for the entire Asia Pacific region. Some relevant architectural and interior design companies are located there and they “specify” products for major project all over the Pacific Area. Office furniture distribution in Singapore mainly passes through space-planning companies and contractors, and major office furniture manufacturers have their own showroom over there.


MALAYSIA, A LEADING EXPORTER over 60% of Malaysian office furniture production is destined for foreign markets. Exports totalled about USD 270 million, increasing +12% yearly on average since 2003. Main countries of destination are India (15%), Singapore (13%), US (9%) and the UAE (8%) Merryfair is the leading office chair manufacturer both countrywide and in the whole region. the Canadian Teknion pioneered as foreign investor in the country taking over in 1999 a leading Malaysian manufacturer of filing, storage and seatings with 180,000 sq.ft. facility in Klang. In 2001 a similar strategy was adopted by Steelcase, which established a JV with a relevant local producer.


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