Market Overview

When FII was launched in 2003, China represented just over one percent of BC’s total exports of softwood lumber products. Since then, the development of the Chinese market for BC wood products has been a priority for the industry. In 2019, China represented approximately 22 percent of BC softwood lumber exports, demonstrating the growth and importance of the Chinese market for BC forest products. Today, China is BC’s largest market for commodity lumber outside of North America.

Photo: Nanchang Lotus Book Store, Hubei province | Credit: JinagXi Guojin Green Building Technology Company

Key Stats


of all BC forest product exports go to China (on average over the past 5 years)


of BC's softwood lumber exports go to China (on average over the past 5 years)


codes and standards favourable to wood construction have been advanced since market development efforts began in China

Why China?

  • A large, growing economy
  • Increasing reliance on imported lumber and wood products
  • Strong demand for housing
  • Broad interest in green building technology
  • The shift towards prefabrication that uses advanced wood systems
Photo: Canadian delegates visit Rugao factory demonstration of Shanghai Electric Matechstone Engineering Group (MTS), Jinagsu province | Credit: Canada Wood China

Market Priorities

  • Position wood construction in high priority segments such as cultural buildings, tourism, wellness and elderly care facilities, hybrid construction (wood mixed with concrete/steel) and mid-rise and taller wood construction
  • Increase the use of BC wood in China’s growing wood in manufacturing (WIM) segment
  • Position wood in response to new policies of the Chinese government to encourage low carbon, energy-efficient and prefabricated construction in China
Photo: Hemlock furniture manufactured by Foshan Yiyuan, Guangdong province | Credit: Canada Wood China

Strategic Approach

FII and the Canada Wood Group have worked together since 2003 to develop and grow the market share for BC wood products in China. The market strategy concentrates on higher-value market segments, where product differentiation provides a comparative advantage for BC’s wood products. Activities focus on increasing the value of wood sold, growing wood’s acceptance in construction, and positioning Canadian wood products as high-quality, environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced.

Photo: Xiawei Bhen Boat Rooms on the Fuchun River | Credit: Canada Wood China.

Featured Projects

Commercialization of wood infill walls

A core element of the Chinese government’s strategy to reduce the cost and carbon footprint of building construction is to focus on industrialized construction with methods such as the use of prefabricated components which are transported from manufacturing plants to the construction site. Currently, buildings are required to have 15 percent of construction project components to be prefabricated offsite, and those requirements are expected to increase to 30 percent by 2030. Following this policy target, Canada Wood has identified prefabricated wood infill walls as a significant opportunity to create demand for Canadian lumber through broader adoption by the construction industry.

On October 30, 2020, Canada Wood accomplished a significant step in the promotion of high-value, prefabricated wood-frame construction in China with the signing of a three-party MOU agreement with the Huaishang district of Bengbu City and Shanghai Electric Matechstone (MTS).

This MOU builds on previous successes with MTS over the past four years, such as the first commercial trial of the concrete-wood infill wall system developed by Matechstone in 2019, using prefabricated energy-saving cladding. Now, this MOU will facilitate the initial commercial application of infill walls at the Anhui Bengbu Qinghe Garden community facilities in Anhui Province.

Photo: Shanghai Matechstone Rugao R&D Centre building | Credit: Canada Wood China

China’s first wood-frame nearly netzero project starts construction

The Changzhou Nearly Zero Energy Wood-Frame Demonstration Project is China’s first wood-frame project consuming nearly net-zero energy. This designation is the outcome of a design assessment by the China Academy of Building Research (CABR)—China’s largest and most widely recognized research institution in the building industry.
CABR’s recognition of the project achieving the Technical Standard for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings is a milestone for the government’s endorsement of wood’s contribution to energy saving in the construction sector. It will also strengthen the market’s understanding that wood-frame construction is an ideal solution to nearly zero energy building, creating more opportunities for wood use in China’s construction industry.

Photo: Changzhou Nearly Zero Energy Wood-Frame Demonstration Building | Credit: Canada Wood China

Wood in manufacturing

As the world’s largest furniture producer, China’s wood in manufacturing (WIM) sector represents a significant market opportunity for Canadian softwood species, including spruce-pine-fir (S-P-F) and western hemlock.
With a reputation for high-quality products sourced from sustainably managed forests, Canadian lumber is well suited for applications including furniture, windows, doors, cabinetry/joinery, bed frames, upholstered furniture and other appearance-grade needs.
The objective of the China team’s wood in manufacturing strategy is to increase awareness of Canadian wood in the furniture sector, advance Canadian wood product trial programs and promote BC species within the furniture market.

Photo: Hemlock furniture display at 2020 China International Furniture Fair in Shanghai | Credit: Canada Wood China

Partnering with the Chinese Real Estate Foundation

Under the framework of a new MOU signed May 15, 2020, FII, Canada Wood and the China Real Estate Association (CREA) will work together to support the development of sustainable environmental practices and green building in China’s real estate sector. Promoting the applications of wood-frame construction technology and developing modern wood-frame buildings that meet China’s market conditions are a central focus of this partnership. For prefabrication, the organizations will work together to educate members on understanding the installation process, developing standards for parts and components, integrating interior decoration, and contributing to the technical standards in China.

Once international travel resumes, the organizations will bring delegations of Chinese real estate developers to engage with Canadian research institutes, forest product producers, wood modular production plants and wood-frame structure design and construction enterprises.
CREA is China’s largest real estate association—a national level industry association which plays a key role in implementing MOHURD policies. With more than 40,000 views of the signing ceremony broadcast live on Leju (the digital real estate platform), interest appears to be high, providing a positive early indicator for the collaboration.

Photo: MOU Signing Ceremony between Canada Wood and China Real Estate Association | Credit: Canada Wood China