Jokowi wants Indonesian furniture makers to claw back global market share

The decline in ranking of the country’s furniture industry is a result of a lack of partnering with foreign markets, since many leading furniture-producing nations had established cooperation with overseas companies.

Ruth Dea Juwita

Ruth Dea Juwita

The Jakarta Post


A worker carries a rattan bundle on Monday for drying under the sun at a workshop in Doy Ulee Kareng village, Banda Aceh. PHOTO: ANTARA/ THE JAKARTA POST

September 15, 2023

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s furniture industry was falling behind those of its neighbors like Vietnam and Malaysia, though the country was once one of the world’s leading producers decades ago, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Thursday at the Indonesian Meubel & Design Expo 2023.

Before entering politics, the President was in the furniture business in his hometown of Surakarta, Central Java.

Jokowi said the country’s furniture industry currently ranked 17th in global market share, compared to Vietnam in second and Malaysia in 12th.

He attributed the decline in ranking to the country’s lack of partnering with foreign markets, pointing out that many leading furniture-producing nations had established cooperation with overseas companies.

“In the ‘90s, Indonesia used to be leading international furniture exhibitions, be they in Germany, Italy or France,” he said, recalling the country’s past glory while opening the industry expo, organized by the Indonesian Furniture Industry and Handicraft Association (IFFINA) at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition in BSD City, Tangerang, Banten.

“We are now below Vietnam and Malaysia, although our human capital is actually very ready” for the global market, the President said.

He urged Indonesian furniture companies to actively seek partnerships and collaborations with potential markets such as China, the United States and European countries to expand their global reach and bolster the national industry’s performance.

“We must be open to partnering with foreign furniture companies,” Jokowi said, emphasizing the importance of not limiting the industry to the domestic market.

Drawing from his own experience in the furniture industry, he lauded the country’s abundance of raw materials and natural resources as assets pivotal to dominating the global furniture market.

According to the President, the global furniture market was valued at a staggering US$766 billion, whereas Indonesia contributed a comparatively low amount of just $2.8 billion last year.

He also underlined the significance of the furniture industry by revealing that the government had allocated substantial spending totaling $1.1 billion across the state, regional and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) budgets combined.

But most of the allocated spending was going toward imported furniture, the President said, whereas domestic funding should prioritize locally made products.

Anne Patricia Sutanto, vice chair of the Indonesian Furniture and Craft Industry Association (ASMINDO), noted separately that it would take the local industry several years to catch up and lead the ASEAN market.

“We aspire for Indonesia to lead the furniture and handicraft industry. Give us five years, and we are confident we will be number one in Southeast Asia, working in synergy and collaboration with [other] ASEAN countries,” Anne said on Tuesday, as quoted by online business news portal detikFinance.

In the short term, ASMINDO expected the value of Indonesia’s furniture industry to increase 20 percent year-on-year in 2024.

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