Hardwood Use in China's Wood Furniture Industry: A Small Sample Assessment
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In 1996, total wood materials used by responding firms were approximately 140,000 cubic meters. On average, hardwood dimension accounted for 25% of the total volume of the wood materials used by wood furniture makers. This was followed by particleboard (24%), hardwood lumber (22%), and medium density fiberboard (MDF) (17%). Domestic species grown in temperate regions were found to be the dominant types used in all responding firms. Chinese oak, ash, and birch were the major species used in 1996. U. S. red oak was the most popular temperate hardwood species imported. Interviewees reported that they prefer temperate over tropical hardwood species because they are predominantly light color. Sampled furniture manufacturers purchased hardwood lumber/dimension either from domestic sawmills or from wholesalers. On average, imported wood materials accounted for less than 7% of the total by volume. Most companies thought that price and quality of materials were most important factors affecting their importing decision. Delivery terms and species availability were important to a lesser degree. Approximately one-half the responding firms reported that their wood material demand would increase 5 to 10% annually through 1999. The other half estimated that their wood material needs would remain at or near the 1996 level. In the near future, high quality hardwood lumber, dimension, and wood veneer will need to be imported to supply upper-end solid furniture manufacturing. However, panel products, such as MDF and particleboard will retain their dominant positions in furniture making to meet the needs of consumers with low to middle incomes.
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