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

0

%
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

Showcasing BC wood species in Vietnam’s manufacturing sector

Vietnam continues to be a global hotspot for attracting international buyers sourcing furniture and other manufactured wood products.

Try Canadian Wood product trials have been a key strategy in introducing BC softwood products not previously well-known in the market by highlighting the benefits and showcasing species particularly well-suited to furniture applications.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, 41 product trials were completed, driving interest in a variety of BC species. The majority of product trials used western hemlock—prized for its favourable finishing properties and ability to accept any paint,
stain or clear finish—for a range of indoor furniture and moulding applications, including sofa frames and baseboards. Western red cedar and yellow cedar were trialled for use in outdoor applications, while S-P-F gained traction within furniture, door core and other industrial applications.

The results of these product trials have been very positive, with a number of manufacturers placing commercial orders for BC species, while others are eager to show foreign buyers the finished products in person when travel reopens post-pandemic.

Photo: Western hemlock furniture trials | Credit: FII

Tavico: a template for strengthening local partnerships

A cornerstone of FII Vietnam’s market expansion strategy is fostering strong local partnerships with importers, traders and stockists—wood wholesalers/dealers that act as a local supplier network for Canadian wood products.

Across 2020/21, FII Vietnam continued to build on an important relationship with Tavico—one of South Vietnam’s largest stockists of softwood and hardwood products from around the world. With a large customer base consisting of furniture, window and door manufacturers, as well as traders, architects, designers and contractors, Tavico encourages these customers to visit their showroom which includes a Canadian Wood Vietnam display area featuring a range of furniture. Tavico sales staff are then able to educate customers on the workability and end-use applications of the BC products, thanks to training provided by FII Vietnam. Attached to the showroom is a warehouse with inventory of BC species for purchase.

However, pandemic-related restrictions on international travel and trade event cancellations caused a downturn in visitors to the Tavico warehouse/showroom. In response to this, the FII Vietnam team pivoted their strategy to continue to build momentum with Tavico and its domestic customers.

In January 2021, FII Vietnam promoted BC wood to domestic buyers and formed relationships with local manufacturers at a Tavico event geared towards a Vietnamese audience. FII’s prominent, high-traffic showroom locations at the event showcased Canadian raw wood materials and highlighted the possibilities of BC’s sustainable lumber through high-quality finished furniture and joinery products on display.

Participating in this event allowed FII Vietnam to further demonstrate its ongoing commitment to this important market; build on relationships with existing partners; generate leads; and reinforce a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Tavico as an important proponent of Canadian lumber.

Photo: Canadian wood showroom at Tavico | Credit: FII

Promoting the Canadian Wood brand

To increase brand awareness of B.C. softwood products with Vietnam’s furniture manufacturers, FII Vietnam conducted targeted multi-lingual advertising campaigns across 2020/21. Mirroring FII India’s Born in Canada, Made in India campaign, both print and digital media were developed with a call to action encouraging manufacturers to, Try Canadian Wood, utilizing specific species within a variety of furniture applications. The ads showcased B.C. species in finished furniture products, while highlighting Canada’s sustainable forest management practices. Ads were placed within several well-known Vietnamese manufacturing and interior design magazines, both in print and online. The Canadian Wood Vietnam website continues to be the digital hub for information and resources with all promotional campaigns linking directly to www.canadianwood.com.vn.