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MIFF Show Attracts More International Furniture Buyers

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Held for the first time at two venues, the Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2006 (MIFF 2006) recently concluded successfully paving way for the launch of MIFF 2007. The 12th MIFF series was held simultaneously at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) in Kuala Lumpur from 7 - 11 March 2006 was biggest by far. On opening day more than 3,900 international visitors visited the show, surpassing all previous records. “MIFF 2006 is far better than the furniture exhibitions held earlier in Singapore and Indonesia. If it is just rattan furniture you want, then Indonesia is perfect. At MIFF 2006, you have furniture of every design and made from a variety of raw materials Russians prefer their furniture with traditional designs. They like wooden furniture with country designs.” exclaimed Mr Savchenko Vitaly, a buyer from Russia. Mr Trevor Howe, Managing Director of Tredoor Outdoor Furniture, Australia a first time visitor explains “This is my first time at the fair. The experience is enlightening and eye-opening. The variety is terrific and you see a lot of unusual furniture which you don’t get in Australia. The quality is very good.” Attracting buyers from 130 countries, MIFF 2006 statistics show that the recorded number of visitors for MIFF 2006 stands at 7,238 international buyers, exceeding the number set in 2005 of 6,899 from 128 countries. In whole, MIFF 2006 lured a total of 18,186 visitors within a span of 5 days. Based on the visitorship statistics analysis, visitors from Europe topped the list at 1506 visitors, garnering 20.8% of the total number, surpassing the 1242 visitors from ASEAN countries. There was a surge in visitors from the Middle East at 815 that surpassed Australia’s 691 visitors. Statistics of visitorship by country in descending order shows that visitors arrived from the Far East (673), Africa (607), India (499), North America (470), Japan/ Korea (390), other Asian Countries (183) and South America (162). Importers, wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers seeking to source furniture and networking possibilities attended the show. The expansion to two venues brings the size of the exhibition to 70,000 sqm encompassing 433 exhibitors spread over 15 halls. The 16 exhibiting countries include Malaysia, Australia, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, USA and Vietnam. Mr Hew Fui Min, BJ Cabinet Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Malaysia was delighted to explain “We’ve only been in the export line for the last five years and that’s also how many years we’ve been participating in MIFF. We’ve managed to get new buyers from India, South Africa and US. Better yet, we’ve received some confirmed orders, with deposits. I guess our booth’s going to get bigger next year.” The rapid show growth was, perhaps best explained by Ms Esther Wong, Assistant Manager of Haleywood Industries, Malaysia “Response gets better with each year. We received a lot of response from the United Kingdom market. We’ve closed about a quarter million in sales because they like our oak products.” Mr Hasan Asfour the Manager of My Collection, a buyer from Kuwait further explains, “MIFF offers the best of both worlds in terms of price and quality. The quality of the furniture here is better than in China and price is not as expensive as Europe. We made four orders worth US$200,000 in the first two days. Last year, we bought nearly US$1 million worth of furniture. I notice the quality and design of furniture this year has improved a lot.” It was unanimous among all that MIFF 2006 had indeed improved in quality, design and its services. The Best Presentation Award, one of the competitions initiated by the organiser, undoubtedly shows its effectiveness. The Chief Judge for this award Mr Eric Leong exclaimed his delight that some of the booths were very visually impressive although there was still room for improvement in others. Speaking on accessories, lighting and space planning, Leong commented that though some companies made the right choices, a few of them lacked the proper planning. He urged bigger booths to be more creative and fresh in ideas in their presentation as most, though impressive, were of similar concepts. On the other hand, the Furniture Excellence Award Chief Judge, Mr. Ian Davies went on to congratulate MIFF for organising such a design award, citing the rarity of credit given to the design community in Malaysia. “The beds and bedroom was the most closely fought category. While the dining category though not as original, some designs stood out from the rest. The occasional category featured great designs, making it a hard category to choose from. We faced the same problem for the office category, such innovative designs of great quality. The innovative and comfortable designs in the Sofa Category made selection tough as some must be highlighted for its world class quality allied with unique designs. In conclusion the standards of quality, design and innovation are without question improving throughout the industry!” exclaimed Davies. After winning the merit award in dining furniture and the Bronze for presentation in Category 1, Ms Polly Lau the General Manager of Wing Huan Marble & Furniture Industry said, “We wanted to create a dining design that moved away from tradition, that’s why we introduced the armrest and created a more comfortable, elegant yet low cost innovation. We are very happy to have our design recognized and winning the award means a lot to us. MIFF has helped us a great deal, business is great, the staff is very helpful, environment is perfect and the facilities at KLCC are just amazing.” The panel of judges for both competitions comprised 16 highly respected judges from Australia, Canada, China, UAE, Germany, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. Competing not only for the glory of international validation, the sensation and credibility of the competition is regarded highly by exhibitors as a mark of excellence. In overall the judges seemed pleased with their chosen winners though they had a tough time selecting the winners given the abundant choice of excellent finalists to choose from. MIFF is a well known service orientated exhibition that ensures that show visitors are taken care of with various services right from their arrival in Malaysia. The continuos shuttle transfers between venues ensured that the flow of buyers between halls were constant, giving an even exposure to exhibitors at both venues. The immensely popular International Buyers Lounge (IBL) and the MySpa Centre continued to attract visitors as the spot to relax and rest after hours of observing and bargaining. With light massages for the weary buyer, the popularity of the visitor service section increased as international visitors continued to throng the Lounge to partake of the various free services and facilities. The successful ending of MIFF 2006 paves the way for MIFF 2007, to be held from 6 - 10 March 2007 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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