BC softwood commodity product sales in China
(Softwood lumber, plywood, OSB, MDF and Particleboard)
- B.C.’s second largest export market for softwood lumber, after the United States.
- Significant market for softwood lumber in industrial applications with large potential to consume higher-grade lumber in woodframe construction.
- B.C. is China’s largest supplier of softwood lumber and a holds a 46.4% share of total softwood commodity product imports.
- 2011: 7.4 million m3 of commodity wood product valued at $1.1 billion.
- 2012 (through September): 5.5 million m3 valued at $759 million.
China’s economy continued to grow rapidly in 2011 (up 9.2 per cent), despite an end to fiscal stimulus. During the year, the government tightened regulations to preclude a real estate price bubble which slowed both commercial construction and the housing market; however, demand for construction materials and home furnishings remained relatively strong because of the government’s “affordable housing” construction program. China’s softwood lumber consumption was an estimated 31.2 million m³ in 2011, up 29 per cent from the previous year.
Competitive prices continue to be important in the large volume, end-use markets of general construction, concrete forming and packaging. Fast growth in transportation infrastructure also contributed to increased demand in 2011. Domestic production was limited by log availability, leading to the dramatic increase in lumber imports in 2011. China reported 14.9 million m³ of softwood lumber imports for 2011, up 59 per cent from 2010.
China is a priority market for the B.C. industry and for FII. Following a transition in the FII China operations in 2011/12, the industry, through Canada Wood Group, has assumed greater responsibility for program implementation and on-ground support. FII is maintaining a strong presence to manage relations with government authorities and state-owned development companies in support of the overall market development strategy. Canada Wood Group and FII China have formed a close partnership to encourage adoption of wood building systems and structural and appearance grade products through training, research and promotions. The primary focus in China is to increase the use of wood in mid-rise and multi-family construction, with activities focused on wood “in-fill” in high-rise construction, wood-truss roofing, wood-hybrid construction and other high potential structural wood applications. Maintaining traction among key influencers such as larger developers and builders remains a priority, encouraging further demand as Chinese companies realise the benefits of wood-frame construction. Canada Wood Group is increasing support for training as construction quality assurance is critical to ensure that early projects are completed to acceptable standards.
Select accomplishments 2011/12
- China’s softwood lumber consumption was an estimated 31.2 million m³ in 2011, up by 29 per cent from the previous year. B.C. lumber accounted for almost one-quarter (24 per cent) of China’s total softwood lumber consumption.
- The Hebei Building Science Research Centre in Shijiazhuang was completed as a demonstration project in 2011 with assistance from both FII China and Canada Wood Group. The Centre is a hybrid wood-concrete structure and features the longest wood-frame span of any building in China; the Centre is also one of the largest wood-frame buildings in the country.
- Several other projects came to fruition in 2011/12 which increased the profile of B.C. wood products in China and contributed to solid growth rates over the year. Highlights included the completion of the Beichuan, Market Street and Mianyang projects under the Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Initiative. 2011/12 was also a landmark year in that it was the first time that a vocational school has adopted a wood-frame construction college program influenced by, but independent of, the successful Canada Wood College program.
- In 2011/12 the Canada Wood promotional program saw success in widening the influence and impact of the program beyond the core focus of Shanghai/Beijing and the East Coast. For the first time major projects were identified in Heilongjiang and Hainan Provinces which will use wood on a purely commercial basis.
- Government endorsement is very important in sending a message to the construction industry in China. 2011 marked the first time that a government white paper formally recognised wood as a “green building” material. This will have a major influence on the acceptance of wood for future projects in China.
Focus in 2012/13
The program in 2012/13 builds on momentum from previous years’ activities and focuses on quality support, expansion of training programs and resolution of remaining market access issues. Canada Wood Group is recruiting new staff to bolster its quality support and training programs to ensure that local specifiers, builders and developers are best equipped to use wood in their projects. Also underway is targeted market research focused on increasing acceptance of wood products in public buildings, and investigating China’s distribution network to best understand end uses for Canadian lumber.
Further work on code revisions for treated wood in construction and development of a manual for fire safety in timber buildings is also underway. The value-added sector and coastal product manufacturers will be promoting B.C. products at shows in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzen and Guangzhou. FII is supporting the industry through hosting of inbound and outbound missions to showcase wood building systems and increase media profile for wood construction and architectural uses in China.
Demonstration projects have proven to be an excellent way to deepen relations with Chinese government agencies and to educate regulators, policy-makers and builders on the advantages of wood-frame construction. In 2012/13, FII China will complete its final two demonstration projects:
- The TEDA – Tianjin Apartment Project, China first four-storey all wood-frame structure, will be completed by the end of the calendar year.
The Sanlin Affordable Housing Project will demonstrate in-fill partition walls, a wood-truss roof on new buildings, and a 1+3 (concrete plus wood) hybrid public building.
- FII China will renew efforts to promote the unique building advantages of each demonstration project to influential government agencies and state-owned developers. In conjunction with these efforts, FII China will invite Chinese officials to visit British Columbia to better understand the market potential for wood-frame construction.
As part of the government relations file, FII China has renewed relations with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development in Jiangsu Province, and hopes to enter into an MOU with Shandong Province Ministry of Tourism to promote ecofriendly wood-frame buildings.
For access to FII-funded market research and related data for the China market, click here
For B.C.’s current monthly exports of softwood lumber, by species, to China, click here