BIFA WOOD VIETNAM 2018: A resounding success

As the last visitors trickled out of the white tents where BIFA WOOD VIETNAM 2018 was held, the inaugural edition of the woodworking machinery and wood materials show officially drew to a close with a resounding success.

Held from 24th to 27th October at Binh Duong province, the heart of Vietnam’s furniture production and woodworking cluster, the show saw a rousing response from visitors — many of whom were from the furniture and woodworking factories nearby. In fact, about 60 per cent of Vietnam’s furniture and woodworking factories are located within 40km radius around Binh Duong as well as Long An, Dong Nai Provinces and Ho Chi Minh City.

The show was co-organised by Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA) and Pablo Publishing, publisher of the Panels & Furniture Group of wood magazines.

In the context of a tense international trade climate, BIFA WOOD VIETNAM’s popularity is evident and invigorating. The show saw about 183 exhibitors and 740 booths across a massive hall size of 14,500 square metres where about 4200 visitors seeking the latest technologies and products in the furniture manufacturing and woodworking sector were accommodated.

While Binh Duong is now the capital for wood processing and furniture production in Vietnam, it still retains much of its rustic nature and is developing fast. Many exhibitors had commended the show location, chosen specifically for its close proximity to the factories and for the convenience of factory managers. In fact, with its plentiful labour force, a dynamic team of businessman and ideal connections to key timber areas in Southeast and Central Highlands of Vietnam, Binh Duong has become a favourable business and investment environment.

Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had also mentioned the important role of BIFA WOOD in his speech at the opening ceremony, “BIFA WOOD VIETNAM fair is a really important event, timely to advertise, promote trade and investment of the wood industry, not only in 2018 but also in the following years.”

“The fair will not only create opportunities for enterprises to meet, exchange information and seek businesscooperation, but also create the vertical linkages in the industry: from suppliers of raw materials and accessories; machinery and technology providers, to manufacturers and traders. It provides an opportunity for businesses to develop together sustainably.”

According to statistics of General Department of Customs, in the first eight months of 2018, Vietnam’s wood sector  exported over US$5.6 billion, of which Binh Duong is the leading province with import-export turnover accounting for more than 50 per cent of the country’s turnover.

A TIMELY SHOW IN VIETNAM
“Our show has proved to be timelier than ever, not only has our show helped to promote trade and investment in Vietnam, we have also created opportunities for international and Vietnamese woodworking machinery and wood material companies to seek cooperation and conduct
business, interact and keep themselves updated, especially against a backdrop of trade tensions between the U.S. and China. In fact, we brought the platform right to the doorstep of Binh Duong and exhibitors had jumped onto the wagon. BIFA WOOD 2018 received 4241 visitors and attracted 183 exhibitors. This says a lot about the quality and reach of the show,” said Dien Quang Hiep, chairman of
BIFA and William Pang, managing director of Pablo Publishing in a joint statement.

The show also provided a healthy mix of international and Vietnamese exhibitors. Many were eager to enter the Vietnamese market given the changing winds in the global trade dynamics. Exhibitors from 16 countries participated, namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Russia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Malaysia, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, the U.S. and Vietnam.

While foot traffic could be uneven at times, exhibitors lauded the high quality of the visitors, mostly coming to the show with the aim of buying. Patton Tsui, deputy managing director of sales operations of Nanxing Machinery said, “the number of visitors is slightly less than what we expected, but those who came to our booth were high potential buyers. The machineries we brought to the show were all sold out.” 

He also liked that the show is close to the wooden furniture production and woodworking factories. “Our existing Vietnamese customers also came to this show to check out the latest equipment to see what needs updating in their own factories, so the impact of having the show close to the factories, is good. The Vietnamese furniture factories are still developing and technologically behind China by probably five to eight years, so there are still many opportunities for us.”

Wang Hui, general manager of Dalian Hengzhe Woodworking Machinery was equally impressed, “the equipment we brought to the show have all been sold. Actually, our aim here at this show is to find a distributor, currently there are four to five interested parties, so you can say our objective is met and ou expectations exceeded. Compared to the other wood show in Ho Chi Minh City, this show is more professional, the visitors were mainly from the surrounding factories who came to check out the latest machineries. I think the Vietnamese market will do very well.”

BIFA WOOD VIETNAM 2018 had also invited industry veterans and professionals well-known in the wood industry to be speakers in a series of
seminars. Michael Buckley, an important figure in the American Hardwood industry, spoke about sustainable and legal timber as well as introduced the characteristics and applications of various popular American Hardwood on the second day of the show. National Hardwood Lumber Association held a hardwood grading class on the same day, presented by NHLA Inspector Roman Matyushchenko. Jean-François Guilbert, managing director of FrenchTimber also introduced French wood species, French timber industry and grading.

The show has truly established itself as the place for the woodworking and wood materials world to meet. Be sure not to miss out on the next edition which will be held in 2020.

VOICES FROM THE GROUND

We are quite happy with the show as we got to catch up with our current and potential customers as well as meet some new contacts. This year is an especially important year to meet the contact because the markets are moving, with many new factors at play. The first day saw a very good turnout of customers, yesterday was good too, today is slower. We had more than 40 contacts on the first day and more than 20 yesterday. I would say four days may be too long for the wood suppliers. We are expecting more good shows in the future. We will keep coming to the show and hopefully grow more and more contacts in the future. But business is good in this show.”

– Simon Cabanac, ASEAN Sales Manager, J. Lalanne S.A.S

 

“Our software company is expanding very fast in the market and we are exposing ourselves to the market, hopefully we will find the right clientele soon, after all this is our first major show in Vietnam and a good show for us to announce that we are officially entering the Vietnamese market. In fact, we already have three or four customers from Vietnam before this show, and I believe after this show, we should be doubling our clientele base. We will definitely consider coming back again.

I think this is a good location because it is near the industry and factories, but the only difference is that this industry is more focused on the solid wood industry, so it is good for machines, wood or component suppliers that are dealing with the solid wood industries, not so much for the panels industry, which we are targeting.

I think this show as a second edition has done quite well, I think there is quite a good turnout, the
turnout for the solid wood players are very strong.”

– Clement Su, Partner (Indonesia), Pytha 3D-CAD-System


“We noticed there are many suppliers and many machines, so it is quite interesting for the customers. We registered good visits for the first two days, so now let’s see the next two days. The customer service is quite interesting, they come as a team, as they are from the furniture manufacturing cluster nearby. At the end of the show, I believe the outcome will be positive. We are quite happy with the number of visitors

for the first two days, and I believe it will continue to increase for the next two days. Of course, we will have our analysis at the end of the show, but yes, we will likely be back for the next show.”

— Matteo Gasparini, Product Area Manager, Biesse Asia


“The show was not so busy but with quality visitors, we had many enquiries regarding French lumber, especially hardwood like white oak and beech. For the next exhibition, we wish that machineries and wood will be a little bit more separated, because it can be noisy. But otherwise, the show is very good.”

— Jean-FranÇois Guilbert, Managing Director, FrenchTimber

 

“You did a fantastic job picking the location and keeping it cool here, and adjusting to what is going on in the international trade arena, you did a great job. The right kind of people are here for us, foot traffic is better than expected. The foot traffic on the first day was about the same as what we expected but day two and three are much better than most shows. We made a few deals but more importantly, we met the contacts we need for the future. We will be back again.

I only have one request, now that the show is here and popular, we want our own building away from the machineries, for the lumber distributors and suppliers. I can’t hear!”

— Jay Reese, Sales Manager, Penn-Sylvan Hardwoods

 

“This is our first time exhibiting at this show, I think it is an eye-opener for us. Because this is located in the Binh Duong area, there are certain customers that we are not aware of, and only got to know of after meeting them here, such as TOC and a Korean start-up. We like this location at Binh Duong, the end users are actually located here and it is easier for them to come in. We are targeting the woodworking industry here and we do have a reasonable amount of visitors who are from the woodworking industry. Yes, we will be looking into participating again, but we will probably do it every two years.”

— Lam Fei Shiong, Managing Director, JKF Industri Sdn Bhd


“I was surprised to see many people coming from outside of Vietnam, that is the one thing that I like. I think there is a good mix between machine manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials. What I also like is that the show lasts for four days, so it is more spread out and you have more time to spend with everyone who are visiting the booth, that is not the case for some other shows.

I was positively surprised, thinking that the traffic can be a little bit low at times but the people who visited the booth were really the good customers, so we had the right people with the right questions and enquiries. I am pretty happy. I was surprised because I was
not expecting to close some deals on the spot here.

I like the locations very much because it is right in the middle of all the factories and we were able to go for a few factory visits within a very short time, two minutes and we are in one factory, 10 minutes and we are in another. So I think the location is ideal. If everything goes as normal, and not in this crazy tariff situation, we will most probably be back. More than sure, yes.”

— Tom De Reu, Business Development Manager, Gemini Corporation NV