Muar is ‘Furniture City’ of Malaysia

Collaboration between manufacturers’ association, government and trade agencies could show the way for India

The Muar furniture industry produces a wide range of high quality furniture including home, office and outdoor furniture. Many companies have expanded into large export houses.

The theme of next years’ Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) will be ‘Muar, the Furniture City of Malaysia’. The fair organisers have indicated that over 200 furniture manufacturers based in Muar, making up half of all Malaysian exhibitors, will showcase a wide range of products.

Enterprises in Muar account for about 70% of Malaysia’s furniture exports. Furniture manufacturing in Muar can be traced back to the small-sized family businesses in the early 1980s. However, in just a few decades Muar was transformed into a thriving city with a place in the global furniture trade with over 700 factories, which ship 6-7,000 containers every month.

Today, it is the foremost furniture hub in the country, earning considerable foreign exchange for the country. In 2012, for instance, Malaysia’s total furniture export stood at RM 8 billion, of which the share of Muar Furniture Association (MFA) was approximately RM 3.6 billion.

The Muar furniture industry produces a wide range of high quality furniture including home, office and outdoor furniture. In addition to small and medium sized factories, many companies have expanded into large groups.

Currently, there are eight furniture companies listed on Bursa Malaysia that include big names such as PohHuat, SWS, SK Furniture, Lii Hen and Wegmans.

To ensure local factories have sufficient raw materials the government banned the export of sawn rubberwood. Government support for the sector also comes in the form of competitive loans to encourage greater automation to address the labour shortage in Malaysia and to speed up production, quality and efficiency.

Strategic partnership

“The Muar factor has been an integral part of MIFF from the very start.  As we celebrate our 25th year milestone, it is fitting to pay tribute to the vision and hard-earned reputation of Muar furniture makers who are the trailblazers of Malaysia’s rise as a global furniture exporter,” says Ms Karen Goi, MIFF General Manager.

The MFA-MIFF strategic partnership has worked very well since 2013. The diversity of international buyers brings real business opportunities to existing and new companies, and this invariably boosts Malaysia’s furniture exports and expands its global network.

Muar was officially accorded ‘Furniture City of Malaysia’ in April 2018. At the same time, a 400-hectare Muar Furniture Park was launched, to be ready in 2 years, to accommodate more factories and expand the industry.

Since 1982 the MFA, which accommodates all furniture and furniture parts manufacturers in Muar, has been the main driving force to make Malaysia one of the most outstanding furniture manufacturing nations in the world.

In an effort to give its members international exposure and recognition, MFA organises regular exhibitions, and collaborates with several agencies to establish a strategic alliance to jointly promote international furniture fairs, to ensure that members have a better sales platform, and promote international business.

The fast growing furniture industry in Muar saw many cottage industries and small factories shifting their operations to industrial estates to establish furniture manufacturing clusters with essential supporting industries.

The abundance of sub-contractors also ensured Muar’s global competitiveness in price and quantity. All these effort have contributed to making Muar into the internationally renowned Malaysian Furniture City.

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