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Thomas Russell

Vietnamese looking for more U.S. business at High Point Market

Features 11 producers of wood furniture, handicrafts and other art

HIGH POINT — Several Vietnamese manufacturers showing at the High Point Market this week are looking to capture a larger share of business in the U.S. market.

 Tran Anh Vu, left, Lien Thanh Furniture, and Patrick G. Harvey, Harick PTY Ltd.Tran Anh Vu, left, Lien Thanh Furniture, and Patrick G. Harvey, Harick PTY Ltd.
 Jeff Dilley, left, Exsero Services Ltd.; Thomas Russell, Furniture/Today; Nguyen Chien Thang, Scansia Pacific, and Dao Tran Nhan, Embassy of Vietnam Trade Office.Jeff Dilley, left, Exsero Services Ltd.; Thomas Russell, Furniture/Today; Nguyen Chien Thang, Scansia Pacific, and Dao Tran Nhan, Embassy of Vietnam Trade Office.
 Michael and Maria Gunther, Honai Furniture Decoration Co.Michael and Maria Gunther, Honai Furniture Decoration Co.
 Duong Thi Minh Tue, Minh Duong Furniture Corp.Duong Thi Minh Tue, Minh Duong Furniture Corp.

The 11 producers of wood furniture, handicrafts and other art are displaying their wares in space in G-578 of the International Home Furnishings Center. In furniture, their latest designs cover important categories such as bedroom and casual dining.

The booth is sponsored by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, also known as Vietrade. Helping promote the space this week are government officials including Dao Tran Nhan, minister of trade for the Vietnamese Embassy trade office; Bui Thi Thanh An, deputy director of the Vietrade office in Ho Chi Minh City; and Luong Quoc Binh of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency for the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Dao said the 4,400-square-foot booth is a good venue for all the manufacturers to show product. While Vietrade has had a space here before, some of the manufacturers were spread out in different locations.

"This is a good way to show the best products from Vietnam," he said. "Customers can see both the quality and diversity of our products."

Vietnam, he said, shipped about $1.8 billion in furniture and related wood products to the United States last year, up 25% from 2011.

Even after the economic slowdown in 2008, the U.S. remained the most important market for the Vietnamese furniture industry. Yet due to the slowdown, the country also had to diversify to other markets in Europe and other parts of Asia, he said.

With the economic slowdown in Europe over the past few years - and the economy on the rebound here - the U.S. has once again grown in importance to Vietnam.

Case goods manufacturer Minh Duong sells about 40% of its goods to the U.S market and one of its biggest customers is Costco. It is in High Point to greet existing customers and meet new prospects, said Duong Thi Minh Tue, sales and marketing manager.

Its line here includes mostly casual dining furniture made with rubberwood solids and oak solids and veneers. The space features mostly five-piece sets retailing at $599 and available in a variety of styles and finishes.

Case goods manufacturer Lien Thanh Furniture produces bedrooms made with New Zealand pine solids and veneers that retail around $999 for four pieces. Currently, Europe represents as much as 70% of its sales. It has no current distribution in the U.S. but hopes to get some new OEM or direct retail customers here this week.

The company said it can produce about 300 containers per year, but has some additional capacity to be able to produce another 60. It is well positioned to service new customers in the U.S., said Patrick Harvey, who handles international sales for the manufacturer.

Case goods manufacturer Honai Furniture Decoration Co. is showing its line of bedroom and dining room furniture made with oak and acacia solids and veneers as well as New Zealand and Chilean pine. Company executive Michael Gunther said this is the company's second time showing in High Point.

The company sells nearly 90% of its volume to the U.S., he said. Its 300,000 square feet of production facilities can produce about 150 containers per month. Currently running at about 80% capacity, the company has room to grow with its U.S. customer base, Gunther said.

He said he's pleased with the market so far.

"For us it has been good," Gunther said. "We are seeing the people we are hoping to see and it is definitely meeting our expectations."
*Click here to read all our High Point Market coverage.

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