From Cluj to Shanghai - together for Transylvania’s furniture industry

Submitted by Ciprian Morcan on 15 October 2018

30 people representing 16 Transylvanian Furniture Cluster members went on a economic mission in China, to participate at the most important international fairs dedicated to the furniture industry

China’s furniture industry seems determined to move from "Made in China" to "Create in China", and this intention is supported by the progress made in recent years. Meanwhile, the Romanian furniture industry experience its own challenges, pushing indigenous companies to reinvent themselves and find ways to operate in global markets more than ever. Internationalization has become a priority for Transylvanian Furniture Cluster (CMT), an umbrella organization where are associated over 70 private companies, public institutions, universities and research centres that are involved in the furniture industry or its related fields. In September, 30 representatives of CMT members flew from Cluj to Shanghai for an economic mission during the world’s largest events dedicated to the furniture industry: CIFF - China International Furniture Fair (42nd edition) and Furniture China. Specifically, at CIFF there were over 2,000 exhibitors, presenting the latest products and trends for household furniture, interior decoration, outdoor furniture, office furniture, commercial furniture, hotel furniture, machinery and raw materials.

High-level meetings

The week long visit in Shanghai was an opportunity for the Romanian delegation of CMT to discover and understand international trends in the furniture industry and to establish useful connections with peers and potential clients from international markets. During the week in China, a collaborative framework was created in partnership with the Council of Asia Furniture Associations (CAFA) and China National Furniture Association (CNFA), in the presence of President Xu Xiangnan, General Secretary Linda Tu and representatives of the Romania Consulate in Shanghai. A working group emerged, to implement the ideas discussed during the high-level meetings the results of this working group will appear in the coming months. Also, during the visit in Shanghai, Karen Goi, general manager of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF), launched a personalized invitation for a Romanian participation at the 2019 spring edition of MIFF, in Kuala Lumpur.

Philip Yap, considered one of the top 10 Chinese designers, has prepared 3 presentations of stands for the Romanian delegation at Furniture China. This was possible due to a strong connection the Chinese designer already has with the Romanian cluster. At this year's edition of Transylvanian Clusters International Conference (TCIC), themed EU-Asia Gateway, Mr. Yap was a guest speaker in the section "Challenging Industries. Trans-Continental Approach". TCIC is an annualy event organized by the North Transylvanian Cluster Consortium, which includes Transylvanian Furniture Cluster (CMT).

Internationalization, one step at the time

Upon the return in Romania, members of the economic mission delegation in China concluded that their experience has been vastly enriched in Shanghai, while visiting tens of thousands of square meters of exhibition space and meeting dozens of potential collaborators and business partners. One Chinese sentence that really resonated with the CMT members and that they still remember fondly: "I do not want to climb a mountain to be seen by other people, I want to climb a mountain so I can see them better." This illustrate the ambition to improve one’s products and services so that they match what people need. The economic mission in China aimed to deepen the CMT members knowledge and understanding for the Asian way of life, culture and business conduct. This economic mission was one of the activities initiated by the cluster for internationalization and to provide support for its members to become relevant for the international markets. Such activities have already been initiated for 2019, when members of Transylvanian Furniture Cluster will be welcomed to participate in events organized on four continents.

Members for the Transylvanian  Furniture Cluster delegation to Shanghai, representatives of Marlex IMPEX, Inno Laser, LifeMob, Salice Comprod, Ghise Design, Antares Romania, Hygia Consult, Trend Furniture, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Mobiprod, Basic Point, Taparo, and MagMob Magazine.

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