The myth of “Made in China” is still quite widespread across the world.
According to it, Chinese products are synonymous with low quality.
Had the Chinese been manufacturing furniture while compromising on its quality, its exports wouldn’t have increased magnanimously in the last years.
This viewpoint has seen a change in the Western world since designers have started getting their furniture manufactured in China.
You have more and more quality suppliers in China, that can produce quality furniture at affordable prices.
We are glad to introduce you to the magnificent world of the Chinese furniture market.
When did China become the leading furniture manufacturer?
Before we begin our journey, let’s dig deeper into the history of the furniture market.
Before China, Italy was the largest worldwide exporter of furniture.
However, in the year 2004, China became the country with the highest number of furniture exports.
First of all, the price of manufacturing, as well as for working labor, is much cheaper in China than in Italy.
Secondly, the quality of Chinese products soonly became the same as for Italian furniture.
Many of the leading furniture designers have placed their factories in China, although usually, they avoid talking about it (due to the above-mentioned “Made In China” controversy).
The huge population of China is also playing a vital role in making this country the biggest exporter of many products, including furniture.
As the standard of living continues to improve in China people are becoming increasingly willing to invest in home decoration.
Consumers’ increasing purchasing power has driven the furniture market to develop in leaps and bounds.
As China’s leading policy of stimulating domestic demand in the years to come, urbanization is bound to drive furniture market growth.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the urbanization rate in China reached 59.6% in 2018, up 1.1 percentage points over the end of 2017.
In this urbanization process, wage and salary earners, as well as peasant families who have settled in towns and cities, have become major furniture consumer groups.
With the fast growth of domestic sales, China’s furniture exports also show great results.
According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs, exports of China’s furniture and furniture parts amounted to US$53.69 billion in 2018, up 7.6% year-on-year.
What kind of furniture can I find in China?
Needless to say that the Chinese furniture market can offer you any imaginable products.
What is even more important, furniture in China is unique.
For example, you can easily find furniture items that don’t use any nails or glue.
The traditional Chinese furniture makers believe that nails and glue reduce the life of furniture because nails rust and glue can get loose.
They design furniture in such a way that allows all parts to connect with each other to eliminate the use of screws, glue, and nails.
This type of furniture can survive for centuries if it is made of high-quality wood.
You must try these items to truly test the exceptional engineering mentality of Chinese furniture makers.
You will be amazed to see how they connect different parts without leaving any sign of connection.
It seems that only one piece of wood is used to build the entire item.
At present, a wide range of products are available on China’s furniture market and can be mainly classified into the home, hotel and guesthouse, office, and public institution furniture.
# 1. Home furniture (used in the homes of urban residents, including sofas, TV cabinets, tables and chairs, kitchen furniture and bedroom furniture).
# 2. Hotel and guesthouse furniture (dining tables and chairs, sofas as well as guest room furniture for hotels and guesthouses).
# 3. Office furniture (desks, chairs, bookshelves, and cabinets for use in the office).
# 4. Public institution furniture (used in public-sector facilities, such as medical, sports, cultural and educational institutions).
Where can I find the furniture markets in China?
China is a big country and has its local furniture industry based in various locations.
Among others, the Pearl River Delta boasts the highest production of furniture.
It has a thriving furniture market because there is a great availability of natural resources.
Other areas that are known for their wonderful skills in producing high-quality furniture are Shanghai, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.
Since Shanghai is the largest metropolitan city in China, it has a huge furniture market, probably the largest in the Yangtze river delta.
The central and western regions of China lack the proper infrastructure in terms of resources and facilities to have a more competitive furniture industry.
This industrial area is still in its early days over there and will take time to develop.
The capital city of China, Beijing, has an amazing flow of resources available for the production of furniture.
All the tools and facilities required for furniture production are also present there, thus more and more furniture manufacturers are interested in having their corporate offices opened in Beijing.
Now let’s have a look at the most popular spots to buy Chinese furniture.
Furniture markets in Guangzhou
# 1. Jin Hai Ma furniture market
Jin Hai Ma is a popular furniture market with a large selection of furniture, accessories, and fittings.
Large exhibition salons and centers from various Chinese manufacturers are represented.
The main focus is on retail and small wholesale, although you can find suppliers for cooperation in large batches of products.
# 2. Pazhou JSWB furniture market
Pazhou Jisheng Weiban is a famous market for quality furniture, with a wide range of fittings, accessories and decorative elements.
A large selection ofm various regions of the country is offered.
Also, in this complex, an annual furniture exhibition is held.
The larger JSWB furniture retail complex is located in the Panyu area.
# 3. Dashi furniture center
Dashi Ji is a popular Chinese market with a wide range of furniture and accessories from well-known manufacturers.
Several large exhibition centers are represented, dozens of shops and retail space are operating in the middle and high price ranges.
This furniture center is mainly focused on the domestic market.
# 4. BoHuang furniture marketplace
BoHuang furniture is a popular trading platform, with exhibition centers and shops from manufacturers from various regions of the country.
Products are presented above average quality in the middle and high price ranges.
Products are sold at retail and in bulk at various scales.
Furniture markets in Foshan
# 1. Furniture center in Foshan Louvre
Louvre is considered to be the largest and most popular furniture exhibition center in the whole of China.
It is located conveniently in Foshan City, only an hour’s drive from Guangzhou.
It offers products of hundreds of well-known brands in the region, with an overview of the exhibition halls and stores.
# 2. Empire furniture market
In total, there are four Empire furniture salons in Foshan.
You will find a large assortment of quality furniture, mainly of the classical style in them.
Here are represented mainly medium and large furniture factories of the middle price category.
# 3. Expo mall international exhibition center
This is the newest and largest furniture center in China, opened in 2013.
On the 9 floors of this center, hundreds of shops are located in which furniture of all kinds and styles is presented.
Here you will find both high-quality upholstered furniture and cabinet furniture, as well as a large selection of finishing materials and lighting fixtures.
# 4. Shunde market
This enormous market is located in the district of Shunde.
It has almost every kind of furniture.
The size of this market can be imagined from the fact that it has furniture from 1500 manufacturers.
This kind of extensive option can cause confusion, therefore, it is better to know the most popular and reliable furniture maker before beginning this journey.
Moreover, you will not be able to check all the shops because this market is 5 Km long with over 20 different streets.
The best thing about this market is that you may find your desired furniture from the very first shop in the market.
This market is also known as Foshan Lecong wholesale furniture market because this market is close to the Lecong town.
# 5. Ajman mall
This mall has shops for fashion accessories, clothes, and electronic devices.
You can also get soft furnishing materials here.
The number of furniture shops in this mall is less as compared to the Foshan Lecong market and Louvre mall but the variety and quality are impeccable.
If you want to buy all types of home décor products including inventive furniture.
Furniture markets in Guangzhou
# 1. Tianping marketplace
Tian Ping Jia is one of the most popular markets in the region in the field of building materials.
A large selection of products from local factories and private manufacturers is presented.
Such products are offered in the middle price range, with retail sales, small and large wholesale.
# 2. Yancheng furniture market
Yancheng decoration materials market is a rather popular market with an abundance of offers from Chinese manufacturers from various regions of the country.
It specializes in a wide range of products, various building materials, equipment, fittings, and accessories in different price segments.
# 3. Yibao marketplace
Yibao is a well-known and one of the largest finishing materials markets operating in the low price segment.
It offers a large assortment of various building materials, hardware, fittings and accessories for construction.
Dozens of stores are presented with products from factories from different regions of the country for the purchase of goods at retail and in bulk at various scales.
# 4. Xinyang furniture market
Xinyang works with a wide range of quality products, offering a large selection of building materials and hardware, accessories, and fittings for construction.
He works with the products of famous and new factories from different regions of the country, specializing in a wide price range.
How big is the Chinese furniture market?
According to a survey, more than 50,000 companies manufacture furniture in China.
Surprisingly, most of them are small to medium-sized enterprises with no brand name attached to them.
In recent years, some companies have definitely emerged in the furniture producing sector having their own brand identities.
These companies have increased the level of competition in the industry.
A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) revealed that the small to medium furniture enterprises in China can make a lot of money if even a small percentage of the total Chinese population decides to get rid of its old-fashioned furniture and buy into a more modern aesthetic.
The increase in revenue is the most important indicator that China produces better quality furniture as compared to its competitors.
According to a study, in the year 2010 alone, 60% of the total revenue of China came from its furniture industry by selling locally as well as in the international market.
While metal furniture is now becoming more popular in the West as compared to the wood furniture, China is expected to surpass the west in this field because of its amazing furniture producing skills and no compromise on quality.
Eco-friendly furniture in China
The concept of eco-friendly furniture is quite popular these days.
The Chinese consumers understand its importance and thus are ready to invest in it even though they have to pay a higher price.
Eco-friendly furniture is free from any type of harmful chemicals which may include artificial odor as well as formaldehyde which can be harmful to one’s health.
The Chinese government also cares about the environment a lot.
This is why the Environmental Protection Law was introduced by the government in 2015.
Because of this law, many furniture companies were forced to shut down as their methods were not in lieu of new protectionist policies.
The law was further made clear in December of the same year so that furniture manufacturers are clear about the need to use formaldehyde-free products which can be harmful to their surroundings.
Green is the underlying trend in the furniture industry, with more and more enterprises using water-based paints rather than traditional solvent-based.
Water-based paints refer to coatings that are water-soluble or dispersible.
The biggest difference between water-based and traditional solvent-based paints is that the former requires no addition of hardener or thinner and therefore does not contain toxic substances, such as formaldehyde, benzene or xylene, which makes them safer and more compliant with environmental standards.
Chinese kids’ furniture
Since China follows the two-child policy, many new parents want to give their children the best that they have got.
So, a rise in the demand for kid’s furniture is seen in China.
Parents want their kids to have everything from his own bed to his study table whilst a crib and a bassinet is also needed when a child is small.
A study shows that 72% of Chinese parents want to go for premium furniture for their kids keeping in mind their child’s safety.
The premium furniture is more suitable for kids as it is free from any type of harmful material and is less accident-prone.
So, the parents don’t generally have to worry about sharp edges.
Furthermore, the premium furniture is also available in different styles, colors as well as cartoon and superhero characters which are popular among kids of different age groups.
The demand for children’s furniture is on the rise.
As living standards improve, parents are increasingly willing to buy suitable furniture to create a good environment for their children’s development.
With the full implementation of the two-child policy under the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), pundits believe that the market has further room for growth.
According to preliminary data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of children under 15 reached 250 million in 2018, including 15.23 million newborns.
Among all children’s furniture, wooden furniture takes up the lion’s share, accounting for nearly 90%, followed by plastic furniture.
In the case of children’s furniture, according to the 2018 survey on trends in child-related spending, more than 90% of parents would like to buy desks and chairs, while another 40% planned to buy bunk beds for their children.
Among the many consideration factors in buying children’s furniture, the majority of parents would give priority to safety and eco-friendliness.
Over 77% of parents are worried that non-eco-friendly furniture which generates toxic or hazardous substances would pose health threats.
The popularity of office furniture
China is one of the most popular hubs for economic activities.
Many international brands are investing in China every year.
Many multinationals, as well as domestic corporations, have their offices over here, while many more organizations are also opening every other month.
This is why a huge increase in the demand for office furniture has been observed.
Since deforestation is causing serious problems in China plastic and glass furniture is becoming more popular especially in offices.
Some non-profit organizations are working to create awareness about the benefits of non-wooden furniture in the long run.
Chinese people have a serious awareness of this fact because they are experiencing the adverse effects of deforestation in and around various cities.
Outdoor furniture is increasingly popular in the Chinese market.
Available in ever more variety, outdoor furniture mainly falls under the following categories:
- beach beds;
- rattan chairs;
- leisure chairs;
- bamboo chairs, and so on.
Among these, rattan chairs and leisure chairs account for a bigger share.
Demand in the outdoor furniture market has been extending from specialized sectors, such as star-grade hotels, restaurants, exclusive clubs, leisure venues, and residential communities, to the home sector, including private gardens, rooftops, and terraces.
Development in the home sector is gathering momentum.
What kind of popular brands make their furniture in China?
China has become the most popular furniture market even in the West.
The designers rely on it to provide the best quality furniture at a reasonable price.
Even the cloth to be used on various furniture items is also imported from China because of its unmatchable quality.
Shang Xia and Mary Ching are two Chinese companies that have partnered with various Western counterparts for the export of their furniture.
Many designers import furniture from China but sell them with their brand name.
This is the very reason why China is now emerging as a trustworthy furniture market in the Western as well as the international front.
Ironically, the same furniture which is manufactured in Italy or America costs over double in price when compared to one manufactured in China and exported to these very same countries.
China knows how to adopt the Western sense of style in manufacturing and designing its furniture instead of simply conforming to what is produced in Asia and specifically China.
Many American retailers have a keen interest in Chinese furniture. Giants like IKEA and Havertys export furniture from China and sell them in their shops.
Other brands like Ashley Furniture, Rooms to go, Ethan Allan and Raymour & Flanigan are some of the other companies which sell furniture made in China.
Ashley Furniture has even opened some stores in China as well to bring more power to the Chinese consumer.
However, in America, the cost of buying furniture has started to reduce.
The American furniture industry is again improving and the labor price has also decreased as well.
Furthermore, many American companies are now partnering with Italian leather manufacturers for the production of leather furniture.
But still, Chinese furniture is high in demand and will remain so for a long time.
A furniture tour to China is a new travel trend.
Such programs are made to combine business with pleasure in one trip.
If the desire to travel appears when you are building a house or scooping up cement mess in an apartment, pack your suitcase in China.
Usually, a furniture tour lasts from 5 to 14 days, delivery of purchases is a month and a half, and customs clearance takes 3-10 days.
There are a lot of companies that have been organizing furniture tours to China.
Such companies are located practically in each country, with representative offices in Guangzhou, Foshan, and other huge furniture hubs.
So, even if the temptation to behave dishonestly creeps into the local manufacturer, the experience and authority of the company in the Chinese market will quickly drive these thoughts away.
How much cheaper is furniture in China?
A lot of factories in which foreign companies place their orders produce exactly the same furniture, but without a logo: the same hands, the same equipment, the same materials, only for completely different money.
Of course, there is a question of control, and it is very important.
You must either control the production process of your order or take what has already been produced.
In general, furniture in China is always cheaper, especially when we are talking about expensive items.
At what order volumes should I go to China for furniture?
From the point of view of choice, it makes sense to go to China if you are willing to spend at least ten thousand USD.
With such a budget, you most likely will not save a lot of money, but you can afford to buy better and more interesting things.
If you want to save more money, you need to go with a budget of 50.000 USD.
With a lesser budget, you’ll buy in an ordinary store where discounts will be minimal.
How long does it take for Chinese suppliers to manufacture my furniture?
Whatever your volume is, they will produce it on average per month.
Yes, there are a lot of stories when it can be done with significant delays.
However, this is a matter of control.
You have to initially find our own representative on the spot who will control the Chinese so that they do and send everything on time and in high quality.
Do I need a guide-translator to accompany me to the furniture markets in China?
Firstly, you need to go only with a professional agent, not even with a translator.
In the translator, whoever he is, there is no sense whatsoever.
It is necessary for a person to know these markets.
In addition, the guide needs to know all the points related to shipping and quality control.
It must be a person who has really done this many times and knows all the nuances, tricks and tells you everything with pure honesty.
It is better to pay your guide additionally so that before your arrival he finds needed goods and factories that may interest you and sends you photographs and links.
Because in China it will take you much more time and money.
Does it make sense to look for Chinese factories on the Internet yourself?
It is not recommended, especially for the rookie businessmen.
I doubt that anyone can figure it out on Chinese sites without knowing Chinese.
Secondly, if you are not an expert in this field and will evaluate only the picture, then you will not choose anything correctly.
Because all the directories that the Chinese distribute are beautiful.
Only some Chinese make furniture cool, others good, and others make it not so well.
However, the pictures in the catalogs are the same for everyone.
It would be cool if your guide knew this.
What discounts do the Chinese do?
In general, they can lower the price at 5-10%.
Chinese sellers assume that they already trade cheaply and in bulk.
For example, if you take the same practice in the USA when you buy a lot, then you can save there up to 20%, or even more.
However, in China, there is a huge selection of goods.
If you see high prices, you can continue your search and further find the same quality product, but for a good price.
Who should bargain: a client or a guide?
The client should understand for himself: the guide works for money and bonuses.
This is normal.
We would recommend to immediately establish open relations with your guide and pay him a percentage for the reduced prices.
We believe that a guide should bargain.
But you can name the price that suits you.
Are there some problems with visa, flight, life?
There are no problems to gain a Chinese visa at all.
Just contact a certain company and they will make it to you in a few days.
Please note that if you fly to the south of China, it makes sense to open a visa at 2 intersections in order to travel to Hong Kong and then return back.
There are no problems with the flight either.
In the vast majority of cases, it is long, of course, but you can spend this time watching catalogs that your agent sends you beforehand.
There can be some kind of trouble connected with Chinese food because it is quite specific.
However, in the better part of Chinese cities, you can find restaurants with European food, so it is not a huge issue.