Furniture makers not yet sitting pretty

Updated: 2013-02-18 09:56

By Liu Jie (China Daily)

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Furniture makers not yet sitting pretty

China Camerich Furniture Co's store in Cologne, Germany. Launched at the end of last year, it is the Beijing-based furniture company's 43rd overseas outlet. [Photo / China Daily] 

But armed with advanced machines, Chinese firms build strong presence

German Theo Lohmann has just opened a boutique featuring the products of China Camerich Furniture Co in Cologne in the belief that it will make him good money.

Located in Hohenstaufenring Street, a hub for internationally leading furniture brands, Camerich's three-story shop has a business area of more than 630 square meters. Visitors are mostly foreigners, not only from Germany but also from other European nations.

The Cologne outlet is the 43rd overseas outlet of the Beijing-based furniture company and also the 10th it launched in 2012.

All of the Chinese furniture producer's stores abroad are in prominent business areas in international urban centers, including Avenue Louise in Paris, Waterloo Street in Brussels and King's Road in London, said Fu Haijun, founder and general manager of Camerich, which was set up in 2005. "We plan to increase the number of our overseas boutiques to 200 by 2016," he added.

His ambitious plan is based on foreign distributors' huge interest in his brand. "Many foreign distributors have been asking us to open more outlets soon. They like what they see of our self-designed and high-quality products but we only grant a small number of requests. We must guarantee everything has been well prepared before launching a new outlet," said 40-year-old Fu, who has been in the furniture industry for nearly two decades.

Camerich is not the only Chinese brand that is lucrative thanks to the interest of foreigners. Guangdong-based Window of Furniture Group, which was set up in 1990, has opened three franchise stores selling products featuring its own brands in Saudi Arabia. The local franchisee is expecting to continue the partnership by opening more chains.

Chinese furniture manufacturer Markor Furnishings Co now has a presence in the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. In addition to selling its self-branded furniture in overseas markets based on foreign partners' sales networks, it, in exchange, introduces the products of foreign partners to China.

Guangdong-based Landbond Furniture Group and Beijing Ilinio Furniture Co also have overseas outlets.

Why China?

For decades, Chinese furniture companies used original equipment manufacturers for foreign brands, with only a small percentage of them focusing on self-designed products and in-house creativity.

Camerich's flagship store in Cologne is designed in line with the company's uniform style of modernity and simplicity. Lohmann's family has acted as a furniture sales agency for more than 100 years. As a veteran dealer, he said: "It is our hope that, the moment people step inside, they will feel the charm of the distinct Camerich culture, discover the change that we could bring to their lives and see what they really need."

"Camerich's designs and product quality are based on high standards. The company often surprises us with amazing products," Lohmann said, citing the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) series with its unique oriental charm and the Avalon series with a distinct modern style as examples.

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