On May 31st, 2019, the World Furniture Confederation held its working Meeting in Chengdu, China. At the meeting, Xu Xiangnan, Chairman of the Council of Asia Furniture Associations (CAFA) and President of the China National Furniture Association (CNFA), was elected to be the Chairman of the World Furniture Confederation (WFC); Linda Tu, Vice Chairman & Secretary-General of CAFA and Vice President of CNFA, was appointed the Secretary-General of WFC; Dr Casey Loo, Advisor of CAFA, Vice President of International Alliance of Furnishing Publications and President of APS Media Group, was appointed the Advisor of WFC. Representatives from 45 organisations worldwide attended the meeting. They included government institutions, industry associations and furniture and related entities. These organisations are located in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Africa.
The meeting started with a welcome speech given by Xu Xiangnan. He said that the furniture industries around the world are closely connected. The global furniture industry should be administered and governed by all. Industrial responsibilities and benefits should be shared by all. When serving, participating in and protecting the furniture industry, each one of us can not only promote national and regional interests but also contribute to the development of the global furniture community. All should keep in mind what people need today and take responsibility for future generations. It is everyone’s task to promote the common prosperity for the global furniture industry. Together all can build a bright future guided by such ideas as openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and mutual benefits.
At the meeting, delegates first represented their respective organisations to sign the WFC Membership Confirmation Letter. 45 organisations joined the World Furniture Confederation and became members. Next, WFC members discussed the draft of the WFC Constitution. Afterwards, members elected Xu Xiangnan who received unanimous support.
The World Furniture Confederation was founded in Shanghai, China in 2007. A total of 19 furniture organisations founded the organisation. They came from Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The Working Meeting this year gathered people from almost all over the world, furthering mutual understanding among different countries. In the future, the WFC will play its role in and take its responsibility for the development of the global furniture industry. The Confederation aims to build an international exchange platform where all members are equal and all members can help each other. In this way, the WFC makes its contribution to the sustained development of the furniture industry in each country and region.
Below is the inaugural speech by Xu Xiangnan, Chairman of WFC at the World Furniture Confederation Working Meeting on 31st May Chengdu
Honourable guests, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, it is my honour to have been elected the Chairman of the World Furniture Confederation. I would like to thank you for your trust in China National Furniture Association, and I appreciate your support in the election. I am fully aware of the huge responsibilities of the Chairman, and I will do my best to fulfil these duties and live up to your expectations.
Integration develops the global economy and development requires cooperation. Finally, cooperation can lead to prosperity. The World Furniture Confederation is committed to promoting exchange and cooperation between different economies in different regions, thus building a solid foundation for the common prosperity of the global furniture industry. Our organisation conforms to the economic globalisation and the modern requirement of transforming the global governance system.
Today, more than forty organisations come from all over the world to gather here with the aim of collectively building a future development path for the global furniture industry. We shall pay attention to exchange and mutual trust. While seeking common interests and bringing development opportunities to each other, we should play our role in making the industry stable, healthy and glorious.
There are several things we need to do in the future:
First, cultural exchange is beneficial for our mutual trust and mutual learning. Furniture has a long history in the world, and furniture-making crafts keep evolving, creating a diversity of furniture cultures. We can organise furniture exhibitions, designer workshops, seminars between international organisations and other cultural communicating activities, for in-depth exchange and deep understanding among different cultures. We also can set up open think tanks specialised in global furniture development.
By inviting industry scholars, manufacturing experts, designers and others, we may connect the industry to expertise. Furthermore, we can build a communicating platform for higherlearning institutions related to furniture all over the world. Through such cooperation as talent training, educational innovation and integration of industrial production, education and researching, we may contribute to internationalising furniture-related higher learning institutions in the world. All kinds of exchange activities, once fully conducted, will create favourable conditions for mutual learning of each other’s culture.
Second, innovation and upgrading are required for raising industrial standards. We should incorporate innovation and upgrading work into the development of the global furniture industry for sound results. To do this, there are three tasks.
To start with, we need to create a planning system in the global furniture industry to connect the development strategies of the furniture industry in different countries. Therefore a network of global industrial development can be formed. Next, we need an expert team to explore new technologies, business forms and industrial patterns as well as the new economic driving force and development paths. Last but not least, we need to take part in the drafting of international furniture standards, in order to improve the industrial standards in different countries and guarantee that there are good standards to support high-quality industrial development. We should have a sense of urgency and persistence to encourage cooperation between furniture industries around the world, leading the global furniture industry to high quality, efficiency and sustainability.
Third, trade connection should be strengthened for a friendly business environment. We need to promote policy communication and link industries for economic cooperation. Such work requires that we conduct feasible projects in such fields as R&D, manufacturing, sales, build cooperation platforms and encourage common efforts; we facilitate trade negotiations and capacity cooperation among international furniture exhibitions including Milan Furniture Fair (Salone Internazionale del Mobile), Imm Cologne, High Point Market, Furniture China and China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou); we work with IKEA, Red Star Macalline, Easyhome and other international furniture enterprises, with Alibaba, Amazon, JD.com and other online retailers, and with local industrial clusters, to make crossborder trading and capacity cooperation convenient, which helps countries and regions share market resources and take development opportunities.
Fourth, we need to keep development balance and achieve common prosperity. Common prosperity is what we strive for by cooperation, since global multi-polarisation and differentiated furniture industry structures lay a foundation for win-win results. We should see challenges in the light of future development and make efforts to promote cooperation between furniture industries around the world. Bilateral, trilateral or multilateral cooperation is desirable.
We should work with furniture organisations of different countries to give the developed regions the opportunity to lead the global industry while stimulating growth in emerging areas. In this way, the whole global industry can keep developing. We should transform and upgrade small companies so that the industrial chain can be complete. I believe we can increase the overall level of the global furniture industry and achieve common prosperity. Against the background of economic globalisation, we should stick to the principles of equality, mutual benefits and win-win cooperation. By keeping far-sighted and following the industrial trend of building an open economy, we can steadily bring the global furniture industry to a higher level.
A better global furniture industry relies on our hard work and pragmatic cooperation. We would like to listen to opinions from all over the world and come up with a thorough proposal to build an inclusive global furniture community.
I am excited to take a journey with you towards a bright future! Thank you!
Mr Xu Xiangnan
Chairman, World Furniture Confederation
Chairman, Council of Asia Furniture Associations
President, China National Furniture Association