The furniture industry in China is a traditional industry and it has developed rapidly over the past 30 years. Large scale furniture enterprises are mainly concentrated in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan and Shandong Provinces and 5 major furniture manufacturing zones have been established in the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta, Circum-Bohai-Sea region, Western region and Northern region, accounting for 50%, 15%, 10%, 10% and 5% respectively of the total output value of national furniture industry.
However, the number of unprofitable furniture enterprises has been increasing in recent years due to a slowdown in the domestic economy and to increased competition in the sector.
The number of furniture manufacturing enterprises in China had increased to 6,217 by the first half of 2018, but 15% of these are assessed as unprofitable. Across the sector it has been estimated that profit fell 6% in 2017.
The output value of wooden furniture enterprises (including solid wood furniture and wood-based panel furniture), metal furniture and other furniture account for 64%, 19% and 17% of the national total respectively.
According to the China Furniture Association output from China’s furniture manufacturing sector rose about 1% to 435 million pieces between January and July 2018. Of the total, the output of wooden furniture grew 2.2% to 144 million pieces, metal furniture fell 0.5% to 219 million pieces and soft furniture increased 2.4% to 32 million pieces. Wooden furniture manufacturers were the most profitable according to the Association.
Wooden furniture is manufactured in 28 provinces. The top 10 provinces are Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Henan and Beijing in terms of output in the first half of 2018.
The output of top 3 provinces, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian are 27 million pieces, 15.7 million pieces and 14.5 million pieces respectively in the first half of 2018.
The Jiangxi Nankang furniture industry cluster continues to maintain a high growth trend and the total output value from the industrial cluster reached RMB73.14 billion in the first half of 2018, up 16% over the same period last year.
China’s furniture industry is passing through some difficult times at present especially in respect of domestic regulations on environmental protection and safety. Many small and medium-sized furniture enterprises are ceasing operation or are totally re-tooling to meet the new regulations.
China’s Industrial Green Development Plan (2016-2020) points out that the concept of green development will become the guiding principle of the whole industry. ‘Green’ manufacturing industry has become a new engine of economic growth and is providing an advantage in international markets.
In summary, the furniture manufacturing industry is changing from overcapacity, high resource consumption, simple production to high productivity and high valueadded production. The next step will be low carbon, environment friendly and intellectualization of production.