China looks for joint venture with Pakistan in furniture production

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s furniture industry has great potential to boost exports. The uniqueness of Sheesham-made (Rosewood) furniture has great demand in both the local and foreign market because of its durability.

Currently, China’s Dezhou furniture industry, based in Shandong province, is interested in cooperating with Pakistan, WealthPK reported.
Dezhou’s furniture industry has been included among 30 provincial-level industrial clusters in Shandong province, said Zhong Ling, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of Dezhou Municipal People’s Congress and Director of the Dezhou Furniture Industry Chain, during an online conference in January this year.

She looks forward to cooperating with Pakistan to develop and export Pak-manufactured furniture using advanced technologies.
Pakistan’s furniture industry is mainly unstructured based on small and medium enterprises.

So, there is a huge competition in the market. The industry’s estimated size is about $3 billion, according to FY 2021 report.
The main focus of the furniture industry is meeting domestic demand, while the export share is very low, which stood at just $353 million during FY 2020 (PBS data).

The domestic demand is met by the local market and through imports. Furniture import stood at $87 million during FY2020, falling from $129 million in FY2019.

The industry shows a diminishing tendency in terms of dollar, declining from $5.46 million in FY2016 to $3.53 million in FY2020. Exports stood at $1.81 million during the seven months of FY2021, which was 14 percent less than $2.10 million during the seven months of FY2020.

Aman Ullah, a carpenter and owner of a small furniture manufacturing unit in Chiniot, told WealthPK, “We are unable to make furniture on a large scale because we lack advanced machinery and have limited resources.”

Pakistan’s economy is back on track after a long period of decline due to Covid-19. The current government has announced a lot of incentives for the construction industry. Since the furniture industry is related to the construction industry, increase in construction projects must have some positive impact on the latter. New factories can be established under these incentives to boost furniture manufacturing.

The policy of tree plantations will also impact positively on the furniture industry.
Pakistan investment counsellor to China hopes that Pakistan’s furniture industry can benefit a lot by interacting with China’s furniture industry.

Chinese investment in Pakistan’s furniture industry is expected, and new technology can be imported, which will help increase production.

To make this development more productive for Pakistan, the following measures must be taken.
Firstly, skill development is crucial in making local manufacturers more efficient and productive.
Secondly, huge investment is necessary to transform this industry to large-scale manufacturing from a small-scale one.
Lastly, resources such as electricity, transportation, and infrastructure should be provided to investors to boost production.
Pakistan has all the resources to boost its furniture industry, provided these [resources] are used efficiently.

The need of the hour is to put these resources in the right direction in close cooperation with China.