KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Malaysian International Furniture Fair opens its 22nd year in an atmosphere of excitement and heightened anticipation with increased pre-registered attendance, first time participating Japanese exhibitors, and the debut of new O2O (online to offline) sourcing experience with partner Alibaba B2B.
The five-day event and Southeast Asia's biggest industry show features 500 exhibiting companies from 15 countries and regions, grossing 80,000 square metres at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) and Matrade Convention and Exhibition Centre (MECC) from 1-5 March.
Officiated by Guest-of-Honour Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, MIFF 2016 marks the first furniture trade fair of the sourcing season in Asia.
Present at the MIFF opening ceremony were UBM Asia President and CEO Jime Essink, MIFF Chairman Dato' Dr Tan Chin Huat, UBM Asia ASEAN Business Managing Director M. Gandhi, and Director of Business Development for Alibaba B2B Business Unit, Yi Qian.
MIFF 2016 is the first trade event in the UBM-Alibaba strategic alliance pilot program series and debuts Alibaba's Trade Assurance Program internationally by way of participation of select MIFF Exhibitors.
MIFF's position as a gateway into the growing Southeast Asian region and other emerging markets has attracted companies from mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Turkey, United States and Spain to exhibit alongside leading Malaysian manufacturers.
Six Japanese companies led by Mitsui Designtec Co Ltd are exhibiting in PWTC, adding a fourth cluster to long-established mainland China and Taiwan halls, and Muar Hall in MECC.
Ranked, the world's 8th largest furniture exporter, Malaysia posted exports of RM9.14 billion last year. It is no wonder why buyers from as many as 140 countries and regions also visit MIFF to handpick products from the biggest collection of Malaysia's quality timber furniture under one roof, with reported transactions of US$865 million as a result of MIFF 2015.
Pre-registration of visitors was up 30% with one third coming for the first time. Attendees will include delegations from Japan, Italian Furniture Retailers Association, Australian Furniture Association, India and Turkey.
MIFF continues to exude strong positive sentiment with its planned expansion in 2018 to make the show 25% bigger to 100,000 square metres, using the new Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and PWTC.
Among the side highlights are the MIFF Furniture Design Competition with the winner to be announced during the official prize presentation ceremony on Thursday along with exhibitor awards for the best booth and best product in MIFF 2016.
Dato' Dr Tan Chin Huat, Chairman of MIFF, said: "That MIFF is the only furniture event and the only trade show outside mainland China and Hong Kong selected for the UBM-Alibaba B2B strategic alliance underscores the level of trust and confidence in MIFF ahead of our expansion in 2018. This will open more opportunities for our exhibitors and Malaysian companies to increase exports."
Mr Jime Essink, President and CEO of UBM Asia, said: "The O2O synergy with Alibaba B2B enhances the dynamics of business today. One of the challenges of the trade exhibition industry is continuing the buyer and seller dialogue throughout the year, while a purely online trading world lacks the physical interaction and development of the personal relation. What we have now offers customers greater convenience, efficiency, choice and the all important face-to-face interaction and handshakes to build long-term business relationships."
About Alibaba @ MIFF
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SOURCE UBM Asia (Malaysia)