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Characteristic town boosts East China's home furniture industry

2019/12/10 15:16:35   source:chinadaily.com.cn

Riding the wave of reform and opening-up, Nankang district in Ganzhou, East China's Jiangxi province, a latecomer to China's home furniture industry, has made serious headway in recent years, becoming one of the most popular choices for both domestic and international buyers.

By the end of 2018, the home furniture industry in Nankang had registered an annual growth rate of over 20 percent for the fourth year in a row, with its earnings reaching 160 billion yuan ($22.7 billion). Online sales were robust, with over 400 local e-commerce companies bringing in 38.8 billion yuan in the first 10 months of 2019. The brand value of Nankang home furniture was estimated at over 10 billion yuan.

The district government was able to reap immense benefits by developing a strong industrial cluster, relying heavily on a new characteristic town in a remote corner of the district.

With its many exotic buildings emulating architectural styles from Egypt, Thailand and the Netherlands, the waterside town was ranked by the National Development and Reform Commission this July as the ninth "Most Beautiful Characteristic Town in China".

The unassuming town is expected to have a crucial role to play in the future of China's home furniture industry.

"We hope to build the town into a hub which integrates home furniture design, talent training, intelligent manufacturing, immersive experience, and shopping," a staff member at the town said.

It has been 17 months since the characteristic town opened to the public in July 2018. It has since become home to over 50 design companies and joined hands with world-leading design institutes from Spain and Italy's Milan to carry out research and improve its design capabilities.

A number of professors and universities are helping the town improve its technological foundation, such as Doctor Gan Zhongxue and the Harbin Institute of Technology, offering intelligent solutions to lower costs for local furniture factories and make more efficient use of space.

Avant-garde and customized wooden products created with the help of intelligent manufacturing will decorate homes around the world, as the nearby e-commerce headquarters is working to attract more international orders. Live streaming sales, one of the most convenient and preferred styles for online shoppers, has also presented new possibilities for the local industry.

"Sales via live streaming give less developed areas like Nankang a chance to prosper," said Xiao Yongchang, manager at a local e-commerce company.

A few kilometers away, at an international inland port built in 2016, lies the final key to unlocking Nankang's access to the international market.

"Furniture and other products from Nankang have been sold to over 100 countries and regions; 19 cargo routes directly connect Nankang with six Central Asian and European countries, including Russia, Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden," said Li Xu, executive assistant at the port.

"Dozens of foreign trade enterprises in the district have taken the initiative to set up warehouses and marketing departments overseas," Li added.

Nankang was once an area lacking in wood resources and a convenient traffic network, but the influx of carpenters who previously made a living in the developed coastal province of Guangdong has boosted Nankang's home furniture industry.

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