25 years of the world design scene and bold attendance and pleasant surprises – this is the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF).
The jubilee edition of this year went on for four days, and the record-breaking results for organizers, exhibitors, buyers and visitors were the most exciting proof that the event is the number one in the Malaysian furniture industry and one of the leading exhibitions in Asia. For another year the team of MD and DMT magazines had the chance to be VIP guest at the event and an international representative of the Bulgarian media in the industry there.
Since its start in 1995, MIFF has been held in the heart of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. As one of the most visited city in the world, and Asia’s Greenest Capital, Kuala Lumpur is also a financial and trade center of the country, making it the perfect design event location for a show such MIFF that claims its leading place in the rankings in the industry. Indeed, as soon as you arrive in the city, you seem to have the “buildings-are-among-the-green” impression, not “the-green-between-the-buildings”. An interesting fact is that only half of the Malaysian population is Malaysian. The remaining 50% of people have different nationalities. This, together with the kind openness of the locals, most of whom speak English freely, make the visit to this city even more enjoyable, easier and most of all, distinguishing it from the typical notion of the Asian country which strikingly differs so much by the long distance, lifestyle and culture than Europe.
Kal El (as the city is shortly called) extends far and wide, incorporating new and new spaces. The so-called Golden Triangle features the largest business buildings, shopping centers and, of course, perhaps the city’s biggest attraction – the world’s tallest twin towers, Petronas Towers. Nearby is one of the locations of MIFF 2019 – Putra World Trade Center (PWTC), which is the symbolic symbol of the Chow Kit neighborhood.
Between 8 and 11 March, MIFF 2019 presented products from a total of 600 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions. Many exhibitors barely handle the increased traffic, orders, and the variety of interests of buyers from all over the world. In the first two days MIFF welcomed buyers from 120 countries with a significant number of first-time visitors and returning customers joining the regular flow of professionals who favoured the show because it is the biggest export platform for Malaysian wood furniture and office furniture in Southeast Asia.
The second and bigger venue of MIFF 2019 was the attractive building of the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC). A confection of glass and aluminium, the exhibition centre has 11 exhibition halls and a total gross floor area (GFA) of one million sq ft, which can accommodate 40,000 visitors at a time. MITEC is a truly gigantic, sculptural, complex structure. The building is the largest exhibition center in Southeast Asia. Its architectural form is inspired by the rubber seed, which is a major source of income for the country. Design, business and development intersect literally and metaphorically in MITEC, which contributes to the success of MIFF 2019.
Among the highlights this year was the spotlight on Malaysia’s Furniture City of Muar and strong presence of young Malaysian designers bringing their products to the market to tap the growing population of millennial consumers. The show floor was packed with attractive offerings from Malaysian companies and the increased international participation from China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, United States Turkey, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and for the first time, suppliers from Portugal, Romania and Sri Lanka. A number of Malaysian brands have reported stronger interest from US buyers, referring it to the tax imposed on China-made products, people in the U.S. are looking for other options. This was noticeably felt by the large group of people from Canada who discovered a fruitful business opportunity in Malaysia.
Except the product diversity, behind MIFF stands an incredible team, making every visitor feel comfortable and welcomed. Memorable are the traditional gala dinners organized by the organizers in honor of participants, media and prominent political representatives and sponsors. This year’s anniversary was also a cause for even more amusing entertainment. MIFF is organized by UBM Malaysia, a member of UBM Asia, which is a part of Informa PLC, a leading B2B information services group and the largest B2B Events organizer in the world.
If 30 years ago, Malaysia was perceived as a poorer but growing Asian country, today the country flourishes in every respect. This hot spot on the world map is among the Asian top producers of a variety of goods, including the furniture industry. The easy access to the country (Bulgarian citizens do not need a visa) and the stimulated policy for foreign investments make Malaysia and MIFF in particular, attractive for business opportunities for professionals in the furniture industry from all over the world.