Panels & Furniture Asia May/Jun 2018

May / June 2018 • Issue 3 • PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 22 FURNITURE MANUFACTURING Two heavyweights weigh in on the future of China. Addie Kwan: We are one family A s long as civilisation exists, people will always need furniture. Since the invention of the wheel, from harnessing the donkey for transport to the power of digital, so much has happened in the history of the industrial world. “How exciting is that?” Addie Kwan, managing director of HOMAG China, offered. The future here will be very dynamic as China becomes one of the greatest production powerhouses in the world, if it isn’t already. China is successful because it has a very well-established and complex supply chain. “You can get whatever you need— paper, glue, materials—very quickly and at a good price,” Mr Kwan said. “It will be hard for other Asian countries to compete on this point.” As one of the largest producers and consumers of panel products, China has more than enough to meet the needs of furniture manufacturers, he added. As China trends towards high tech production, Mr Kwan stressed that digitalisation is a must nowadays. “As a total solutions supplier, HOMAG is concentrating on developing software as much as we are working on the hardware. Our customers make money from our machines. I think that is the value we can offer them.” In the past 40 years, price was always tabled as a key deterrent to conclusive sales. Now, this has changed as buyers consider performance and service to be some of the more important aspects of the package. Mr Kwan and his relationship with HOMAG began in 1982 when he first approached the German woodworking machinery company to seal a partnership. As the brand established itself in China, Mr Kwan entered into a joint venture with HOMAG and the two are now one family. “And oh were they jealous when it happened!” Mr Kwan joked, on how industry peers viewed the marriage. For HOMAG China Golden Field, the joint venture made sense as it meant that Mr Kwan did not have to worry about working with different dealers or setting different pricing or commission policies. As one family, it made operations very focused, efficient and streamlined. It was a win-win situation. Mr Kwan added, “I think we are going to have a good time and a lot of success.”