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JTC Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut to be completed end-2018
THE first high-rise and multi-tenanted development to cluster both furniture and furniture-related companies is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Details of the eight-storey JTC Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut was unveiled by Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry at the opening of the International Furniture Fair on Thursday.
Located on a two ha site, the hub will offer 63 modular units ranging in size from 500 to 1,000 square metres. The flexible modular units allow businesses to combine several units to form larger floor plates of up to 3,000 sq m. Each unit comes with a factory frontage, an office or reception mezzanine, a multi-use shop floor, and integrated loading and unloading bays.
Png Cheong Boon, chief executive officer of JTC, said that he expects the hub to play an important role in transforming the furniture industry, as the clustering of different players allow companies to tap each other's competencies, share resources and foster collaboration, thereby enhancing the industry's overall competitiveness.
"As companies in the Sungei Kadut estate move into the Furniture Hub, we will have the opportunity to rejuvenate the estate by enhancing its infrastructure and connectivity, thus making it a more conducive and attractive location for businesses," he added.
Also at the hub is a 10,000 sq m Furniture and Furnishings Experience Centre which will be established and managed by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC). It will comprise a trade showroom, training institute, an e-commerce fulfilment centre, and a design studio to nurture talents in the industry, and enhance the design capabilities of the furniture and furniture-related companies. The trade showroom on the ground floor will enable year-long trade displays, and allow companies to attract both local and international buyers throughout the year.
"The Furniture and Furnishings Experience Centre enables the JTC Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut to be a springboard for Singapore's furniture companies," said Ernie Koh, president of SFIC.
"The Centre will support an ecosystem of production, trade, showcase, design and training, fostering closer collaboration and synergies among local companies. We look forward to the immense opportunity at the Hub for local furniture companies to internationalise their brands."
Such projects to strengthen the industry eco-system, paired with SFIC's plans to further develop and strengthen its members will ensure that Singapore's furniture sector is well positioned to take advantage of long-term opportunities, said Mr Lim.
One of the key initiatives put in place to help further develop the industry's capabilities and talent is the Overseas Place and Train Programme through which local furniture designers will be given the opportunity to go through a three to six-month attachment with accomplished overseas design houses or technology application houses.
These include renowned companies such as Studio Makkink & Bey from the Netherlands, and "a studio" from Japan. Following the attachment, the designers will also be expected to develop prototypes for commercialisation, and share their newly acquired knowledge at industry sharing sessions such as talks and workshops. SFIC is exploring this initiative with IE Singapore and Spring under the Local Enterprise and Association Development programme, and with the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
Mr Lim also highlighted two key structural trends - the rapid advancement of technology, in particular 3D printing, and the rise of the Asian middle class - that businesses should be aware of. 3D printing technology for instance has the potential to change the way that businesses manufacture and distribute furniture - could future consumers be the designer or even manufacturer? Which parts of the value chain would be disrupted and which parts would become even more valuable?
"These are questions which have no ready answer today, but must be on the top of our minds if we are to be prepared for the future," he said.
Singapore's furniture industry is made up of over 1,900 companies and employs more than 19,000 workers, contributing about S$1 billion in value add to the economy. The industry's market size is forecasted to have reached S$6.25 billion in 2015, growing at a rate of 7.4 per cent from 2012 to 2015. Singapore's current share in the global furniture market accounts for about 1.05 per cent of the global consumption.