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Serving Chinese and Global Markets

Dongguan Famous Furniture Fair



Mr Jacky Fang, Managing Director of Dongguan Famous Furniture Fair

Formerly the sales director responsible for the recruitment of exhibitors for Dongguan Famous Furniture Fair (3F), Mr Jacky Fang was recently promoted to become the show’s managing director. His promotion took effect on 1 April 2013. Fang joined 3F some 14 years ago as a sales executive. This was his first job upon graduation from the university. As a direct result of his dedication and outstanding performance, Fang rose through the ranks to become a sales manager and subsequently the sales director. As the new managing director of 3F, Fang now oversees the operation of 3F and has been tasked to lead the show into a new era. Our magazine speaks to Fang for an update of 3F and its plans for the future.

FFE: 3F has grown considerably through the years. How does the show now differ from its early days?
Fang: As one of China’s top three largest furniture trade fairs, 3F was launched in March 1999. Although the first show had a scale of only 40,000 sqm, it is quite a feat considering the poor infrastructure then. Bearing in mind that the year was 1999, Houjie, our show venue was a relatively unknown town located in Dongguan, South China.

Come this September, 3F will usher in its 30th edition, hosting more than 900 exhibitors showcasing tens of thousands of the latest products for the domestic and global markets. The total floor area of the show will be 250,000 sqm. The show could have been larger if not limited by the lack of more expo ground. Over 100,000 buyers are expected to visit the 30th edition of 3F. Compared to the beginning, the scale of our show has grown very significantly in every sense.

ON 3F’s BUYER STRATEGY

FFE: 3F is recognised as an exhibition with a huge showcase of interesting and varied designs. What are the highlights of the forthcoming edition?
Fang: 3F is renowned for our huge offerings of residential furniture with great variety. Not only do our exhibitors present their latest and most innovative designs at our show, our event also features different categories of products. For example, there are also decorative accessories, furniture components, hardware and machinery on show. One of the highlights of the forthcoming edition will be the contract furniture (or custom furniture) and hotel furniture showcase. The Contract and Hotel Furniture Pavilion, now in its 4th year, is highly popular amongst interior designers, furniture retailers and property developers. The 30th edition will also welcome the return of the “Design Show”. In addition, we will for the first time assemble rosewood furniture producers in a centralized location of 20,000 sqm. This particular showcase will bear the name of “Chinese Rosewood Furniture Fair”. This integration of rosewood furniture into the 3F family is the result of our response to market trend and demand. Visitors can expect to see some of the best rosewood furniture producers coming from key rosewood furniture production areas across China.

FFE: Scale appears to be critical for shows around the world to draw buyers. Although 3F is already 250,000sqm, there are other events in China that are larger in size. It seems 3F has been limited by its lack of exhibition space and there is a waiting list of exhibitors becoming frustrated. What are your plans to address this limitation?
FANG: The driving force for the constant growth of 3F is the need by Chinese furniture enterprises for a quality exhibition platform. As China’s International Furniture Purchasing Center, an official honour bestowed on Houjie Town by the Guangdong province not long ago, 3F launched a massive project named Famous Furniture Expo Park (FFEP). This real estate development seeks to better position 3F for its future growth. To be constructed in several phases, phase one of FFEP will bring on stream 400,000 sqm of space. Completion is scheduled for the end of this year. To a great extent, the FFEP will help resolve the space shortage problem that 3F has long been facing.

ON 3F’s EXHIBITOR STRATEGY

FFE: With growing affluence in China and Chinese consumers having greater spending power, foreign products have become more and more affordable. There is tremendous interest for foreign products. Foreign companies are also eyeing this big pie and many of them keen to join 3F. However, few are able to get space in your show. Your lack of space is again the problem. Is 3F keen to absorb these companies and how do you plan to do it?
FANG: 3F serves both local and foreign companies. With the completion of FFEP, we will be fully capable to accommodate a large number of international companies, who are eager to take advantage of 3F as a bridge leading them to the booming Chinese domestic market. With FFEP we will be able to accommodate more companies and products, both local and foreign.

To attract international exhibitors, 3F is carrying out a global promotion for FFEP at this moment. A very successful event was organized in Milan during the recent iSaloni in April. Similar events in other parts of the world are being planned and will be rolled out in the near future.

Hall 3 packed with visitors as always

ON 3F’s BUYER STRATEGY
Visitors leaving the fairground after a fruitful day

FFE: Although the cost of production in China has increased tremendously over the last few years, China remains an attractive source for global buyers with the rising quality standards. What strategy do you have to attract more international buyers to 3F?
FANG: First of all, we continue to strengthen our communications and our excellent relationship with international buyers, foreign furniture associations and organizations. This helps us better understand the needs of buyers worldwide. We then use the information we have collected as a guideline to recruit exhibitors with products matching these needs.

We are now considering reformatting our show layout to create a dedicated export pavilion to cater to global buyers. On top of that, for the convenience of foreign buyers, we are in constant dialogue with different service providers such as hotel operators and travel agents to provide even better services to international buyers. For example, we are continuing to work with Sea’s Young, an operator of boat service shuttling between Hong Kong and Humen in Dongguan, for express transfer to international buyers from Hong Kong International Airport to Dongguan.

In addition to providing buyers online registration via our website, we are tweaking our website to allow possible booking of hotel accommodations etc. All these efforts are aimed at enhancing the experience of international buyers visiting 3F.

3F Hall Plan

I am proud to say we have a long working relationship with leading trade media worldwide. For example, in 2011, we hosted the annual meeting of the International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP), a grouping of 18 the world’s top furniture trade magazines. We flew in representatives of these magazines and provided them an in-depth understanding of our show and the manufacturing strength of Houjie. 3F enjoyed greater exposure as a result of this. Through powerful channels such as these, we are able to disseminate information regarding 3F as well as update ourselves with global development.

FFE: In view of the ever increasing competition from other major shows in the country such as CIFF in Guangzhou and FC in Shanghai, as well as new regional shows coming up across the country, what strategy has 3F to meet the competition? FANG: 3F has been proud to serve the Chinese furniture industry for the last 15 years. As the show grows, so have our strengths. There are certain unique characteristics that 3F enjoys, which few shows command. For example, 3F is held in Dongguan, the center of furniture production in China. With many of our exhibitors having their factories located within an hour’s drive from the fairground, buyers both local and international can often hop over to these factories for a quick look, whether it be to check out the companies’ production capabilities or to see more products not on display at 3F. This aids the transaction process saving international buyers precious time and efforts. This also helps to reduce the risks that may arise from buying from an unknown exhibitor at a show.

Over the years, we have accumulated an enormous database of Chinese retailers and with its excellent track record serving the local buyers, the show has become the strongest furniture show in China to sell domestic market. That is why we have a large number of loyal exhibitors at 3F and with a long waiting list to exhibit.

Houjie town’s hospitality industry has also growth in tandem with our show’s development. With abundance of accommodation, F&B outlets as well as recreational establishments, buyers can shop at 3F with ease and in comfort. To give you an indication on how popular Houjie has become, the town currently boasts five 5-star hotels including one operated by the Sheraton Group. There are also a total of 23 hotels that have been awarded 3 or more stars.

Looking into the future, in addition to enhancing its current strengths, we will continue to optimize the product offerings of 3F to meet the needs of international buyers and Chinese retailers.

Designer’s perspective of FFEP

Famous Furnishings Expo Park (FFEP) Mega Project

Famous Furnishings Expo Park (FFEP) was first unveiled by Dongguan Famous Furniture Association, the organizer of International Famous Furniture Fair (3F) on 20 December 2011 at a grand party with 1000 industry players in attendance. A massive project boasting over 13 million square feet FFEP integrates the 3F trade fair with permanent showrooms opened year-around.

The FFEP comprises a skyscraper known as the International Furnishings Center and two major malls, one for home furnishing products and one for building materials. The International Furnishing Center (IFC) will have a staggering 102 floors and 480 meters in height. It will house a research and design institute, an inspection and testing center, a media center, an international convention center, a furniture college, an intellectual property Rights Protection center, a furniture cultural center, offices of furniture manufacturing and trading companies, a custom declaration and inspection center as well as a super six-star hotel. The top floor will house an observation deck and house a helipad. Upon completion, IFC will become the tallest building in the world for home furnishing industry.

3F Management with IAFP members and guests during FFEP launch party

The home furnishing mall will be the first building to be completed and will be put into use in March 2014. A component of 3F, it is a building made up of 7 floors, with 2 of the floors underground. Its total build-up area is 400,000 square meters. The mall will be a comprehensive, experiencetense shopping centre.

The first floor will be a branded floor, showcasing 60 global leading home furnishings brands with flagship stores of 2,000 square meters in size and 8 meters in height.

Second to fourth floor will accommodate the flagship stores of over 1,000 home furnishings producers and serve as a yearround component of International Famous Furniture Fair.

The entire 5th floor will be dedicated to international companies with a focus on luxury lifestyle.

The basement floor will house stores of home decorative accessories, providing the best and most comprehensive shopping experiences for designers and buyers from all around the world.

The Building Materials Trade Area will be another 350,000 square meters in size. It will introduce leading global building materials brand names featuring products including ceramic, bathroom, lighting, curtain and home textile, and will become an integrated building materials procurement destination.