TUESDAY, 22 MAY 2017, MUAR: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and Muar Furniture Association (MFA) jointly organise a seminar titled “Export Opportunities Through e-Commerce For Furniture Industry” in a bid to encourage more local furniture companies to embark on e-Commerce in penetrating global markets and capturing global customers.
The event which took place at Classic Hotel in Muar, Johor on Wednesday was attended by 70 participants who mostly are MFA members and furniture companies from around Johor. The seminar was aimed at highlighting exports opportunities for the local furniture companies and the assistance provided by MATRADE for Malaysian companies to start exporting through its eTRADE Programme.
Among the topics at the seminar were ‘Export Opportunities for Malaysian Furniture Industry’ by Mr. Abu Bakar Yusof, Director of Lifestyle Unit at MATRADE; MATRADE’s Assistance to Start Exporting on e-Commerce by Mr. Raphy Md. Radzi, MATRADE’s Southern Region Director as well as a briefing on Alibaba.com B2B platform and Alibaba’s training programme called “Alibaba Dream Trip” by Mr. Jack Zhang Jun, the General Manager of Global Supplier Development of Alibaba.com who is based in Hangzhou, China.
According to Madam Raja Nor Zihan Raja Mohsin, Director of eBusiness & IT, the seminar is in line with MATRADE’s initiative to promote selected sectors globally through e-commerce, as highlighted in the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap. “Furniture is one of the sectors that have a lot of potential in e-Commerce. Our programme, eTRADE, offers incentives for the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to start selling globally through the e-marketplaces. The SMEs must take the opportunity to register in the programme and utilise its benefits. Thus far, furniture companies in eTRADE have secured buyers from China, Singapore, Myanmar, Panama and Iraq,” she said.
Since the programme’s introduction in October 2014, 955 companies have joined the eTRADE Programme of which 111 or 11.6% of the companies are from the furniture industry. Since 1st January 2017, an incentive worth RM5,000 has been provided to qualified companies under the eTRADE Programme to partially cover the listing fee imposed by international e-marketplaces and e-commerce-related services to the companies.
Through e-marketplace such as Alibaba.com, JD.com, TMall.com, Amazon, eBay and Daganghalal.com, various products including furniture, food and beverages, lifestyle products, building and construction materials, as well as automotive parts and components have been exported by the companies in the eTRADE Programme. “In addition to the MFA, collaborations with relevant government agencies, associations from various industries, and companies involved in the e-Commerce ecosystem will be continued to ensure the success of the eTRADE Programme,” Madam Raja Nor Zihan said.
For the 1st quarter of 2017, exports of furniture recorded a growth of 5.1% as compared to the same period in 2016. Malaysia’s furniture exports in 2016 was RM9.53 billion, an increase of 4.2% from the RM9.14 billion in 2015. Apart from the traditional markets such as the United States of America, Japan, Australia, India and the United Kingdom, exports of furniture to new and developing markets such as Turkey, Maldives, Algeria, Puerto Rico and Chile have also shown significant growth since the past few years.
Meanwhile, the President of MFA, Mr. Koh Chon Chai thinks that the collaboration between MFA and MATRADE in organising this seminar is imperative to improve the performance of the industry players. “e-Commerce can help furniture companies to expand their business around the world. I would like to urge local furniture companies, including the MFA members, to utilise the eTRADE incentives and trainings provided by MATRADE and adopt new marketing vehicle such as e-commerce to increase their business profits,” he opined.