SINGAPORE - The Singapore furniture industry is well-placed to take advantage of emerging trends and the Government is also putting in place infrastructure to strengthen the industry ecosystem, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said on Thursday (March 10).
"For the furniture sector to remain competitive and be able to take advantage of future opportunities, it is important that our companies look ahead and capitalise on some of the long term trends", Mr Lim said.
Two key structural trends that will have far reaching impact on the industry are rapid advancement of technology, such as 3D printing, and the rise of the Asian middle class, he added.
"For instance, China - a large market for our exporters - may be seeing slower economic growth in the near future, but Chinese consumer spending is still expected to rise tremendously over the next decade," he noted.
Mr Lim was delivering a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2016.
To strengthen the industry ecosystem, Mr Lim said the Government is putting in place infrastructure that can help to foster greater collaboration, by clustering furniture and furniture-related companies under one roof at the JTC Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut.
The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
JTC said the eight-storey development will comprise 63 modular factory units of about 500 to 1,000 sq m, and will have high technical specifications.
The units, served by direct access via ramp, will offer furniture companies a seamless transition from land-based factories to high-rise space.
"As companies in the Sungei Kadut estate move into the Furniture Hub, we will have the opportunity to rejuvenate the estate by enhancing its infrastructure and connectivity, thus making it a more conducive and attractive location for businesses," said Mr Png Cheong Boon, chief executive officer of JTC.
Earlier on Thursday, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) also signed a memorandum of understanding with JTC that will see the council set up a Furniture and Furnishings Experience Centre at the hub.
The 10,000 sq m centre will feature a trade showroom, a training institute, a design studio and e-commerce fulfilment centre, JTC said.
The showroom on the ground floor will enable year-long trade displays, allowing companies to attract both local and international buyers throughout the year; while the design studio will go towards helping to nurture talent in the industry.
Mr Ernie Koh, president of SFIC, said: "The Centre will support an ecosystem of production, trade, showcase, design and training, fostering closer collaboration and synergies among local companies. We look forward to the immense opportunity at the Hub for local furniture companies to internationalise their brands."
Singapore's furniture industry is made up of over 1,900 companies and employs more than 19,000 workers, contributing about S$1 billion in value add to the economy.
The industry's market size is forecasted to have reached $6.25 billion in 2015, growing at a rate of 7.4 per cent from 2012 to 2015.
Singapore's current share in the global furniture market accounts for about 1.05 per cent of the global consumption.