To capitalize on growing demand for softwood lumber, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) is leveraging tradeshows to create buzz in Vietnam and India for British Columbia’s sustainably sourced forest products.

FII works to identify and develop emerging markets: those with limited current sales of B.C. forest products, but with the potential to grow to commercial scale.

Market research has shown that the furniture and interior wood finishing markets in Vietnam and India offer strong future potential. Both are growing at a double-digit pace: India due to strong domestic demand from a growing middle class and an emerging export sector; Vietnam due to a strong export focus that has made it the second largest furniture exporter in the world. Manufacturers in both countries faces a wood supply shortfall as hardwood supplies decline and buyers demand furniture made from certified materials. Softwoods, particularly if sustainably sourced, can fill this need. But to do so, manufacturers must adapt. Doing so requires awareness of the benefits of using softwoods, education and training on adapting manufacturing techniques, and confidence in having access to a secure supply of certified wood.

In both countries, FII is has market development programs focussed on positioning Canadian wood as the softwood of choice for the wood manufacturing sector. Tradeshows are a key part of this program as they provide a platform to showcase Canadian species, make direct connections between B.C. firms and potential buyers, and help to build a strong “Canadian” brand awareness.

The following highlights how recent tradeshows have advanced the Canadian brand in south Asia.


Held in February 2024, INDIAWOOD is India’s leading event for the woodworking and furniture manufacturing industry. With more than 950 exhibitors, the FII team knew it needed an exceptional booth to draw a crowd.

The solution was a display featuring a high-end hotel room suite designed by a well-known Indian architect. The hotel and hospitality sector is a particularly fast growing segment in India.  With pieces crafted by Indian manufacturers using western hemlock, Douglas-fir, yellow cedar, western red cedar, and spruce-pine-fir, the displays highlighted the aesthetic appeal of B.C. species while demonstrating their suitability for high-value applications in construction and design.

The booth attracted more than 1,500 visitors during the five-day event from about 570 businesses. More than a third of visitors were furniture manufacturers. Architects, interior designers, builders, and distributors also attended, showing the growing interest for softwood use for design and finishings.

FII staff and B.C. firms actively engaged with these visitors, providing information on the sustainable forestry practices in B.C. and the unique characteristics of B.C. wood species. Dozens of referrals and follow-up opportunities were generated.

The strong turnout to the booth was generated, in part, through extensive advance social media publicity using the “Wood you believe it?” tagline. Targeted emails and posts to various social media sites ensured that key influencers were well aware of the booth. Follow-up media relations generated news coverage in 17 online and print publications.

VIFA and HAWA Expos 2024

FII recently participated in two international tradeshows in Vietnam, VIFA and HAWA, held earlier this year in Ho Chi Minh city. The shows are the most prominent wood and manufacturing events in the country and provided a platform to connect with both the domestic and international furniture manufacturing sector.

B.C. is unique in offering a broad range of species, each with unique benefits for manufacturers. To highlight these attributes and the finishing options of the wood species, the booth featured a “Color Wall”. Similar to a color-coordinated bookshelf, the wall displayed B.C. coastal species stained in various shades using the same coatings used by Vietnamese furniture manufacturers. This approach reinforced that B.C. species are incredibly diverse and can be easily used in many different designs and applications.

And to further reinforce the ability of B.C. species to meet local needs, samples of locally manufactured furniture were featured in each booth. These showcased western hemlock, Douglas-fir, western red cedar and yellow cedar. Sample racks of lumber rounded out the displays. This sparked interest among manufacturers seeking high-quality materials.

Alongside the booth, several Vietnamese companies who have worked with the FII Vietnam team displayed furniture and other products using wood sourced from B.C. This included a bedroom set made from Douglas-fir and hemlock, and a wood frame house.

Each tradeshow was visited by several hundred industry professionals, including furniture manufacturers, lumber importers/distributors, local architects, designers, builders, real estate developers, contractors, academics, and government/trade association representatives. This networking often led to product trial requests and generated customer connections. These connections represent significant potential for future collaboration and market expansion in Vietnam.

During each trade show, FII leveraged the profile of the booth with networking events and outreach to local news media.

By showcasing the quality and versatility of B.C. wood while promoting sustainable forestry practices, the tradeshow program is building a strong brand for B.C.’s wood products in the next generation markets of Vietnam and India. Along with other market development initiatives, this helps build a sustainable future for the province’s forestry sector.

For more information on FII’s strategic approach, priorities and activities within the India and Vietnam markets, please visit: