China has become the largest destination of the hardwoods of the United States, said Theodore Rossi, chairman of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) in Beijing Wednesday in a press conference.
According to US statistics, in 2004 the value of US hardwood products imported to China's mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan reached 3.6 billion RMB yuan (approximately 500 million US dollars) , representing a growth of 29.2 percent from 2003.
In 2004, the annual construction value of China reached 200 billion dollars, and the annual production value of the domestic furniture market was 24 billion dollars, "thus creating bright prospects for US hardwoods to be utilized in interior decoration and furniture manufacturing," said Michael Snow, executive director of the council.
The council predicted that by 2008 flooring demand in China will hit 2.5 billion square meters while the door and window market will hit 500 million units.
"China's rapid economic growth and new housing privatization initiatives have created a new generation of increasingly affluent consumers who are eager to outfit their homes and work environment with quality interior furnishings made with US hardwoods," Snow said.
"Driven by strong domestic and overseas market demand for China made US hardwood products, China has been the world's leading US hardwoods importing country for three years in a row," said John Chan, Regional Director of AHEC Southeast Asia and Greater China.
The AHEC 10th Southeast Asia and Greater China Convention, organized by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), and supported by American Forest and Paper Association/ American Softwood Export Council, China Institute of Interior Designers, China National Furniture Association, China National Forest Products Industry Association and China National Forest Products Industry Association Flooring Committee, will open Thursday in Beijing.
Themed "Design Excellence: Architectural Applications of US Hardwoods", the two-day convention showcases the use of US hardwoods in a range of quality applications, from flooring and panels to furniture manufacturing, and from architecture to interior design.
The presentations will feature highlights of many successful projects covering architecture and design, updates on furniture design and furniture trends. The discussion topics will also include how the combination of design and fashionable materials becomes a key element for value-adding.
"The regional convention this year marks the 6th time AHEC convenes in China, and is a testimony to our continued commitment to the emerging markets of mainland China," said Rossi. "US hardwoods have become increasingly popular in China's interior decoration and furniture industries for their unique looks with rich grain texture and natural character marks, and the wide varieties of color, species and grades."
This year's convention has invited a number of renowned keynote speakers from around the world, including Amy Jakubowski, Partner of Brennan Beer Gorman Monk Interiors in New York; James Greaves, Director of Hopkins Architects in London; William Lim, Managing Director of CL3 Architects Ltd. in Hong Kong; and furniture expert Aurelio Volpe, Founding Partner of CSIL in Milan.
They will lead a series of panel discussions to share with the audience their technical expertise and knowledge in respective areas related to US hardwoods. Representatives from over 20 design and trade organizations in China and Southeast Asia will also attend the event.
AHEC is headquartered in Washington, DC, USA and is the leading trade association driving market development programs for the US hardwood industry.