During their time in northern Sweden, the 20 representatives of the Chinese furniture industry learned how Swedish wood can be used in a cost-effective way as well as learning about new ways to process and surface-treat the wood. One of the most popular visits on the trip was to IKEA's furniture factory in Lycksele, where the Chinese representatives got to view new and effective ways to use Swedish pine in furniture production. Visits to the seedling nursery in Sundsvall, the various sawmills in Bollsta and Malå and an instructional day at the design university Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies were also considered valuable. The trip concluded with a business meeting with representatives of Swedish sawmill companies with a view to establishing new contacts with the Chinese furniture manufacturers.
"The purpose of the study trip was both to showcase all the potential of Swedish wood and to instruct the Chinese in its use," says Jan Söderlind, International Director at Swedish Wood.
The study trip is the first phase in a project between the Chinese furniture industry and the Swedish sawmill industry. In tThe next phase will involve the participating Chinese furniture companies will produceing prototypes and test products using Swedish wood. The organisation Swedish Wood will support the Chinese furniture manufacturers with wood materials, design and technical advice in connection with the development of the new products.
"The Chinese furniture manufacturers value the high quality of Swedish wood and how they can make use of the look of the wood as a component in their designs. Correctly formulated design is a key factor for the success of the project. The participating Chinese designers themselves emphasise the importance of showing off the beauty of Swedish wood in the new products," says Charlotte Dedye Apelgren, Director of Interior and Design at Swedish Wood.
If the new products live up to the demanding requirements of the project, Swedish Wood will also offer a number of PR initiatives to support the launch of the new furniture.
"There is huge potential for the Swedish sawmill industry in China. The challenge for us is to highlight the possibilities of Swedish wood and inspire and support furniture manufacturers in China. An earlier survey conducted by Swedish Wood showed an interest in knotty Swedish pine among the younger generation and the new middle class in China. The Chinese like the look of wood from Sweden and appreciate the genuine and sustainable values that Sweden represents. The increase in Swedish exports to China was 20 % last year, and a further increase is expected in 2015. Our exports to the Chinese industry can be multiplied, we have only scraped the surface so far," concludes Jan Söderlind.
China has a large and growing shortage of wood raw materials and is therefore dependent on importing large quantities of both sawn logs and sawn timber. Chinese exports from Sweden took off in 2013, at which time volumes tripled. Last year the volume increased by a further 20 per cent, to 442,000 cubic metres. It is principally spruce that is exported from Sweden, approx. 86 per cent, and the .remaining 14 per cent consists mainly of pine. Despite the increase in exports from Sweden, the Swedish share of China's total imports was only 2 per cent. The proportion of Sweden's total wood exports going to China was 4 per cent. In other words, the potential for further increasing market shares is huge. Source: Skogsindustrierna The Swedish Forest Industries Federation
For further information:
Jan Söderlind, International Director
+46 (0)70-211 04 22
Charlotte Apelgren, Director Interior and Design
+46 (0)70-661 7881
Camilla Carlsson, Communications Manager
+46 (0)72-702 79 65