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China: MDF industry development shows rapid gains in capacity
Asia Observatory

24 June 2008

China: MDF industry development shows rapid gains in capacity

The MDF industry has developed rapidly over the last twenty years in China, making important contributions to development of the national economy and improvement of peopleís living standard. Chinaís MDF industry began in the 1970s, with outputs eventually increasing sharply in the 1990s. Production of MDF increased from 0.7 million m≥ in 1996 to 2.2 million m≥ in 2006, with an annual growth rate of 41.3%. There were 598 MDF production lines in the country by the end of 2007, with a total annual productive capacity of 26.2 million m≥. It is expected that 4.24 million m≥ of production capacity will be added in 2008 and another 3 million m≥ will be added in 2009. Additionally, driven by the rapid development of furniture, laminated flooring and indoor decorative items, annual consumption of MDF increased sharply from 0.98 million m≥ in 1996 to 22.22 million m≥ in 2006, with an average annual growth rate of 35.9%. The number of MDF enterprises is very small in China. The production capacity of MDF enterprises in China varies from 10,000 m≥ to 1 million m≥. In 2007, there were about 400 enterprises with an average production capacity of 65,000 m≥, which is far below that of the developed countries. Privately owned and foreign enterprises account for more than 75% of total MDF enterprises, with the remainder being owned by the state. With the rapid development of MDF industry in China, it is anticipated that more foreign enterprises will enter the field. Furniture enterprises boost export value by increasing added-value products Exports of Chinese furniture have increased in value over the last few years, primarily due to Chinaís growing emphasis on value-added products. According to statistics, the export value of furniture in China amounted to USD 23.268 billion in 2007, up 34.95% from the same period of 2006. Furniture exports experienced such growth due to the following reasons: First, there has been a focus on manufacturing of exportoriented products. The export value of seats and sofas reached USD10.3 billion in 2007, accounting for 45% of the total export value of furniture. Sofas have become the most important furniture product in terms of outputs and exports. Since the US established anti-dumping policies on Chinese bedroom wood furniture, the increase in Chinese wood furniture exports and its share in international markets has gradually fallen. During the period 2003 to 2007, the increase in furniture exports was 36.5%, 29.6%, 26.6%, 23.4% and 15.3% per annum. The share of Chinese wood furniture in international markets also decreased during the period 2004 to 2007 to 52%, 49%, 33% and 29% respectively. Second, furniture exports are mainly concentrated in 10 provinces (municipalities). In terms of value, the top ten provinces (municipalities) which export furniture were Guangdong (USD9.30 billion), Zhejiang (USD4.49 billion), Shanghai (USD2.89 billion), Jiangsu (USD1.91 billion), Fujian (USD1.35 billion), Shandong, Liaoning, Xinjiang, Tianjin and Beijing. The export value of these 10 provinces make up 96.4% of the nationís total. Furniture exports of Xinjiang Autonomous Region has been growing especially fast, with exports reaching USD480 million in 2007, up 17% over the same period in 2006. The main export destination for Xinjiang furniture is Kazakhstan and other Eurasian countries. Third, in 2007, value-added furniture products increased 29% in value without increasing export volume. Unit price of furniture products have increased year on year. The unit price of bedroom furniture was USD60.03/piece in 2007, up 11.45% over the same period in 2006. Office furniture was USD33.98/piece, up 11.74% over the same period in 2006. Rosewood furniture was USD100.8/piece, up 15.73% compared with 2006. Fourth, the proportion of general trade has increased. The export value of furniture reached USD16.15 billion in 2007, accounting for 62.97% of the total export value, up 52.2% over the same period of last year. At the same time, the proportion of barter trade and trade of products processed with materials supplied by customers reduced gradually.