Market Overview

Vietnam has a long history of producing furniture products for its domestic market, and in the last 20 years for export. Exciting opportunities exist for BC companies to expand their business in this fast growing market.

Value-added wood product processing is far outpacing the growth of the domestic wood supply. A decreasing supply of Southeast Asian hardwoods has opened up more room in this rapidly emerging market.

Vietnam has increased its emphasis on more certified sustainable sources, a requirement by more and more countries and major companies. Canada has more third-party certified forests than any other country in the world which presents an excellent opportunity for BC and Canadian wood products.

Photo: 2019 Canadian Delegation to Vietnam – Manufacturer Tours | Credit: FII

Key Stats

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product trials with local manufacturers were completed in 2020/21

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%
increase in B.C. softwood lumber exports to Vietnam in 2020

0

+
major furniture manufacturers operate across Vietnam

Why Vietnam?

  • The second-largest exporter of wood furniture in Asia
  • Existing trade agreements reduce barriers to trade
  • Limited domestic supply and declining import supply from traditional sources
  • Many manufacturers yet to capitalize on the benefits and suitability of softwood, creating opportunity for the BC forest sector
Photo: Hemlock furniture trials | Credit: FII

Market Priorities

  • Establish Canada as a preferred supplier of sustainable, certified softwood lumber products
  • Promote BC softwoods as an alternative to hardwood for furniture manufacturing
  • Introduce BC species and suppliers to Vietnamese importers, traders and furniture manufacturers
  • Undertake research to better understand the opportunities in the marketplace and any barriers to entry
Photo: Vietnam Wood 2019 Trade Show, Canadian wood species samples | Credit: FII

Strategic Approach

In partnership with Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Wood Group, FII began exploring opportunities for BC species in the Vietnam furniture manufacturing segment in 2017. Activities focused on identifying key players in the supply chain and providing small quantities of Canadian softwood species for manufacturers to try the products. Early-stage efforts indicated positive signs that BC species have the potential to capture good returns in furniture applications.
In 2020/21, operations were expanded, and a formal FII Vietnam office was established to advance promotional and outreach activities and build the demand for, and awareness of, Canadian wood products.

Photo: 2019 Canadian delegation to Vietnam prior to manufacturer tour | Credit: FII

Featured Projects

Product trials showcase B.C. species

Experience in other Asian markets has shown that product trials are a highly effective means to demonstrate the unique attributes and benefits of Canadian wood to local manufacturers. To educate and build awareness of B.C. softwoods across Vietnam’s Wood in Manufacturing (WIM) sector, FII’s Try Canadian Wood program is using product trials to showcase B.C. species and their
range of applications.
Leveraging the experience and successes of market development programs in both China and India, the Try Canadian Wood program in Vietnam has placed early emphasis on the furniture segment; however, product trials in 2021/22 also included an array of other product applications in addition to furniture, such as doors, saunas, interior finishings, cable reels and other industrial applications.
Numerous product trials generated very positive feedback which, in turn, has resulted in manufacturers placing orders. Some coastal B.C. species have shown to be a suitable replacement for traditional hardwoods and Vietnamese companies are interested in looking at longer-term supply.

Photo: Douglas-fir dining room table | Credit: FII Vietnam

FII increases its market presence

To pursue further opportunities for the B.C. forest sector in Vietnam’s fast-growing furniture market, FII Vietnam has opened a new office in Binh Duong (45 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City), the centre of the country’s wood manufacturing sector. The office is outfitted with furniture and panelling made in Vietnam, primarily from western hemlock and S-P-F, both of which have proven to garner commercial appeal in the market.

The new office showcases the beauty, quality and practicality of products manufactured locally from B.C. species. This is allowing FII
Vietnam to build additional inroads with manufacturers and suppliers in a key manufacturing hub, and to position B.C. wood species as a
preferable alternative to the wood products currently used. Since completion of the office, FII Vietnam has already hosted meetings with
several influential manufacturers in the new space, who voiced positive feedback of the interior fit outs and have expressed interest in future Canadian wood trials. Professional images of the office are being used in marketing materials to showcase the B.C. wood products and the range of applications.

Photo: FII Vietnam office reception area with western hemlock vertical/horizontal decorative supports | Credit: FII Vietnam

Building brand recognition in the market

To further increase awareness of B.C. wood species within the Vietnam furniture market, FII Vietnam conducted ad campaigns during the year that showcased the value of B.C. forest products and increased brand awareness.
Promotions included a broad range of multilingual advertising published through print and online platforms, as well as ads targeting a mix of trade and interior design magazines that are popular among key audiences. The Try Canadian Wood messaging used in the ads is aimed at building greater awareness of the benefits of using B.C. and Canadian wood species by showcasing how Canadian wood products can be used to produce high-quality, durable indoor and outdoor wood furniture. In addition, interest from viewers on the bilingual Canadian Wood website has resulted in inquiries and further business prospects.

 

 

Growing awareness through education and outreach

In a unique collaboration, FII Vietnam worked with the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA) to jointly deliver a webinar introducing manufacturers, distributors, designers and contractors to Canadian wood. The topic of the webinar event, delivered in December 2021, was, Canadian wood: sustainable materials for diversified indoor and outdoor applications.
FII Vietnam’s business development team invited a number of customers to participate in the event as guest speakers so that they could share their experiences either distributing Canadian wood or using it in their manufacturing process. 113 manufacturers attended the seminar which provided an opportunity for the team to connect with potential customers. As a result, more than 80 new leads and contacts were established.
Building on the success of the webinar, FII Vietnam hosted a seminar in late March at the University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City—the preeminent architectural school in Vietnam. The focus of the seminar was on B.C.’s sustainable, certified forest products and examined a case study on using western hemlock for furniture applications. Over 120 students participated in this interactive presentation, marking an important step forward in increasing awareness of B.C. wood products among the future decision makers. Results from the seminar were very positive, with the University of Architecture school board indicating interest in future seminars and factory tours hosted by FII Vietnam.

Photo: Seminar at Ho Chi Minh School of Architecture