Brazil’s Furniture Hub Focus on Design and Reforestation to Grow

The city of Ubá in Minas Gerais state, Brazil Brazilian businessmen in the furniture hub of Ubá, in Brazil's southeastern state of Minas Gerais, intend to earn 3.7 million Brazilian reais (US$ 2.1 million) from sales this year. The sales volume, almost 10% higher than that of 2006, is one of the goals set by businessmen in the region.

In a survey conducted between June and July, 94 businessmen in the region said that they too wish to create more than 200 job positions in the sector, and increase from 48,000 to 49,400 their portfolio of active customers.

The survey is one of the actions of "Projeto Móveis de Ubá" ('Ubá Furniture Project'), supported by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) in the state of Minas Gerais, the Inter-Municipal Union of the Ubá Carpentry Industries (Intersind) and partnering institutions. The work includes managerial and technical training actions, product improvement, sustainability, and access to markets.

In September, eight businessmen from Ubá visited China on a mission organized by the Sebrae Minas Gerais. "We need to know who our competitor is in order to make a plan," claims the president at Intersind, Rogério Gazolla.

The group attended the 13th International Furniture Fair, in Shanghai, the country's largest city. They also went to furniture hubs in the province of Canton, in southeast China, to commercial centers, and parts and raw material factories.

The businessmen believe that the development strategy for the Ubá furniture hub is on the right path. They are going to focus their investment in design, in the region's reforestation, which will provide the foundation for the fiberboard industry that should be ready in 10 years, and in the construction of the hub's residue treatment unit.

The president at Intersind believes that the scenario is favorable to Brazil. "The Chinese expansion will last 10 years at most," he estimates.

National industries, according to him, have competitive advantages such as the time for cutting wood. Whereas in China, this time is 60 years, in Brazil it is approximately 15 years.

"We are investing in treatment of production residue, which makes a good impression in markets in Europe and the United States," says Gazolla.

Sebrae

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