Feature: Furniture industries bridge China-Italy cooperation-Xinhua

Feature: Furniture industries bridge China-Italy cooperation

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-20 20:29:30

MILAN/NANCHANG, Italy/China, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The industrial robots autonomously choose the timber colors, and delicately handle the materials, while intelligent AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) carts transport them. Meanwhile, real-time production data updates are displayed on the LED screen.

In the mountainous terrain of southern China, within the Nankang District of Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province, the intelligent material preparation center hums with activity around the clock. Unlike typical furniture factories with roaring chainsaws and flying sawdust, this facility operates with precision along standardized production lines.

Over 10,000 kms from Nankang, the Nankang furniture exhibition hall made its debut at the Milan Design Week in the fashion capital.

Throughout the week, the exhibition showcased original furniture pieces embodying Chinese characteristics, including tearoom decorations, bamboo seats, and mahogany dining tables, meticulously arranged.

Guided by prominent Italian designers, the exhibition hall's display and decor fostered a cultural exchange ambiance between China and the West, drawing in a greater number of visitors.

Marco, an Italian citizen in his 70s, was "very surprised" to see furniture products with Chinese characteristics in Milan.

"Italy prides itself on high-quality furniture manufacturing, but the exhibits from China are special, and I think it's a good exchange for both sides to see more different styles of products," he said.

Since its establishment in 1961, the annual Milan Furniture Fair has held a prestigious status in the industry, captivating designers worldwide each spring.

Seven furniture enterprises from Nankang organized a collective participation, showcasing their products under the banner of "Nankang Furniture."

The exhibited furniture, crafted from materials like ash wood, mahogany, and rattan art, spanned diverse styles including new Chinese, Nordic, and modern aesthetics. As per local government officials in Nankang, all displayed products hold appearance patents, embodying the essence of original design.

"Milan is one of the most developed regions in the world for furniture manufacturing. As a manufacturer, it has always been my dream to take my products to Milan," said Deng Wangqiang, chairman of Jiangxi Aiyang furniture company.

Over the last two decades, Deng has observed significant transformations in the Nankang furniture industry. At the turn of the century, much like nearly 100,000 Nankang carpenters, he sought employment in Guangdong Province. Subsequently, he returned to his hometown to establish a furniture factory.

"The primary impediment to our expansion was productivity," Deng stated, citing the example of a wooden bed that once required three days for a carpenter to craft.

Over the past decade, the Nankang furniture industry has progressively embraced intelligent manufacturing. "It's been a gradual but inevitable progression in the industry's development. Each year sees improvements," Deng remarked. Presently, a Nankang factory specializing in bed production with 30 workers can manufacture up to 30,000 units monthly, marking a hundredfold increase in production efficiency.

Today, China stands as the world's foremost furniture manufacturing nation, with Nankang emerging as one of its premier furniture manufacturing hubs.

In recent years, Nankang has expedited the development of a pivotal node along the Belt and Road Initiative, establishing and operating China's eighth inland open port.

According to He Shanjin, Secretary of the Nankang District Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the district hosts over 10,000 manufacturing and ancillary enterprises, employing over 500,000 individuals. In 2023, the industrial cluster's primary business revenue surpassed 270 billion yuan (37.29 billion U.S. dollars).

"The Chinese and Italian furniture industries exhibit strong alignment and complementarity. We aspire to establish a new conduit for collaboration within the furniture sector," He remarked.

During the Milan Furniture Fair, the China-Italy (Jiangxi) economic and trade cooperation and exchange roundtable took place, culminating in Nankang District's signing of an agreement with the Italy-China Friendship Association to establish an international furniture industrial park.

The 62nd edition of the Milan Furniture Fair featured nearly 2,000 exhibitors and 185 brands from 35 countries. According to Giuliano Noci, Vice-Rector for China at Politecnico di Milano, the furniture fair serves as a crucial bridge.

"Establishing such commercial cooperation is highly significant. From this perspective, I believe Jiangxi and Italy can foster extensive collaboration, especially in light of this event," Noci said.