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

0

million cubic metres of BC softwood lumber was shipped to China in 2019

0

%
of BC softwood lumber exports go to China (by volume)
$

0

billion in BC forest product exports went to China in 2019

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

Hemlock furniture manufactured by Foshan Yiyuan, Guangdong province | Photo: Canada Wood China.

Wood in the manufacturing sector opens to Canadian species

Hemlock furniture manufactured by Foshan Yiyuan, Guangdong province | Photo: Canada Wood China.

Hemlock and spruce-pine-fir (S-P-F) are attracting the interest of the Chinese wood in manufacturing (WIM) sector following targeted promotional efforts by the China team. As of fall 2019, product trials had been conducted with 62 manufacturers, leading to $2.6 million in hemlock and S-P-F sales. The species are being used for furniture, doors, window frames and interior panelling.

Canadian delegates visit Rugao factory demonstration of Shanghai Electric Matechstone Engineering Group (MTS), Jinagsu province | Photo: Canada Wood China

A manufactured opportunity: infill walls

Canadian delegates visit Rugao factory demonstration of Shanghai Electric Matechstone Engineering Group (MTS), Jinagsu province | Photo: Canada Wood China

China’s construction sector, which is dominated by steel and concrete, is shifting rapidly to industrialized (prefab) methods of construction. Wood infill walls are an ideal product for industrialized manufacturing, as they must be built to precise standards and, being light-weight, can be easily transported to construction sites. In recent years, the China team has been promoting infill walls through training, technical support and demonstration projects. As manufacturers have gained experience in building infill walls, the marketing team has also successfully broadened interest into other wood products, including nail-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber (glulam) and roof trusses. Along with targeted outreach to manufacturers, work is being done with regulators to ensure wood infill walls comply with acoustic and other building standards.

Sino-Canadian Eco-District Townhouse project Lot 61, Tianjin | Photo: Canada Wood China

Tianjin Eco-District anchors green building strategy

Sino-Canadian Eco-District Townhouse project Lot 61, Tianjin | Photo: Canada Wood China

New, planned communities are popping up throughout China. Many are built using the latest innovations in urban planning and construction technology. The China team considers these projects ideal opportunities to promote advanced Canadian wood technology, particularly in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of new construction.

The Tianjin Eco-District Demonstration Project is the major plank in this multi-year, market development platform. Launched in 2012 through an agreement between the Chinese government and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Tianjin has been used to promote Canadian Super E® building systems (energy saving, wood-based construction) for housing, infill wall technology and mass timber construction for commercial and hospitality buildings. Financial support for the demonstration project was provided by NRCan, with technical support coming from Canada Wood China.

The projects, which are now moving to a third, completely commercial phase, are used regularly for tours of officials from other parts of China who are developing their own planned communities.

NLT Fire Resistance Test, Beijing | Photo: Canada Wood China

Opening new markets through regulatory change

NLT Fire Resistance Test, Beijing | Photo: Canada Wood China

Mass timber construction is attracting growing interest in China, but commercial use can be hampered by a lack of standards and regulations. Glue-laminated timber (glulam) is one example, where the hospitality sector wants to build more mass timber resorts, but certification of projects is challenging due to fragmented codes and standards.

Under its “Regulatory Barriers Initiative”, the China team has initiated a project, funded through Natural Resources Canada, with the Chinese Academy of Building Research, to update the certification process for glulam. Work is also underway to ensure the favourable positioning of wood products in new, mandatory national codes. Nail-laminated timber (NLT) products are also being supported through the sponsorship of fire testing for NLT floor panels