The nation's furniture industry is slowly leaving behind a painful transitional period, with total exports reaching US$1.28 billion last year, Taiwan Furniture Manufacturers' Association (台灣區家具工業同業公會) chairman Chen Chiu (陳丘) said yesterday at the opening of the 2006 Taipei International Furniture Show.
Chen said furniture exports used to be hurt by competition from China and other Southeast Asian countries, but with the efforts of local manufacturers, the industry has been revived.
The furniture industry has continued strengthening its R&D, upgrading production techniques and producing creative designs, and has oriented itself toward original design manufacturing and original brand manufacturing products rather than the traditional role of original equipment manufacturing, Chen said.
Chen made the statement at the opening of the show at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I. The show will run through Saturday.
The show hosts 211 exhibitors occupying more than 1,300 booths.
It is expected to attract around 1,500 foreign buyers and more than 20,000 local buyers.
It has been six years since the last Taipei International Furniture Show was held.
The organizers said Taiwanese furniture manufacturers export around US$1.3 billion in product annually, using glass and metal as their principal raw materials, while those using wood are based abroad and export around US$7 billion in goods per year.
The organizers said they were striving toward making Taiwan the "quality furniture center of Asia."