Malaysian Furniture Industry

What makes Malaysian Furniture Industry one of the best?

From rubber trees to global dominance.
A tale of resilience, innovation, and boundless growth.

Malaysia’s furniture industry has secured its place among the top 10 largest furniture exporters in the world, with approximately 80% of its production destined for international markets. The country has positioned itself strongly in the global furniture landscape, particularly in markets like the United States, Japan, and Australia. Recent export trends reveal significant growth in countries like the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Russia. Malaysia’s expanding reach even extends to emerging markets such as Algeria, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Libya.

The success of Malaysia’s wood furniture industry is a remarkable tale, closely tied to the resurgence of rubberwood. Once heralded as the world’s leading source of natural rubber, the rubber tree lost its prominence in Malaysia’s economy. However, the transformation of rubberwood into a prominent source of timber, driven by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in 1978, breathed new life into the industry. This shift catapulted Malaysia into a leading position as a wood furniture producer and exporter, serving over 160 countries worldwide.

The Malaysian government, guided by the National Timber Industry Policy, envisions the furniture industry contributing RM12 billion in exports by 2020. It actively supports the sector’s growth through various initiatives. Recent years have seen the industry transition from generic products to design-driven offerings, propelling Malaysia onto the international stage. With a focus on aesthetics and quality, Malaysia remains a sought-after destination for overseas buyers, particularly those in the middle to high-end category. The government also fosters a business-friendly environment through incentives like Pioneer Status for tax exemption and Investment Tax Allowance, further facilitating the industry’s growth. With its competitive edge, high-quality products, and a promising market, Malaysia’s furniture industry continues on a trajectory of remarkable global expansion.

Malaysia exported 11.147 billion. worth of wooden furniture in 2022 alone.

*Source: Malaysian Timber Council

More facts about Malaysian timber

Some of the most common Malaysian timber used for wooden furniture include Rubberwood, Sepetir, Nyatoh, Kembang Semangkok, Dark Red Meranti, Palm Wood, Balau, Red Balau, Mengkulang, Ramin and Merbau.

Rubberwood

Eco-Friendly Wood - 80% of all Malaysian wooden furniture is made from Rubberwood

Rubberwood is a plantation wood, it does not come from valuable virgin rainforests, as such it is one of the most eco-friendly woods.

Rubberwood is a medium hardwood that comes from the maple family of woods. It is durable, a bit harder than most coniferous species, comparable to black walnut and teak and quite a bit softer than oak or birch. Treated rubberwood is extremely stable and perfect for making furniture. It doesn’t shrink and is insect and mold resistant. With its light colour texture and straight-coarse grain, rubberwood accepts stain easily.

HTD Wood

First Environment-Friendly Rubberwood Treatment Technology: High Temperature Drying (HTD)

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) has successfully developed and patented a green technology for treating rubberwood using high temperature drying (HTD). HTD is a process that eliminates the use of borate, enhances timber stability and cuts down the processing time from about two weeks to one or two days. The overall operation involves only a single stage procedure, whereby the green rubberwood is converted to dried lumber for further downstream manufacturing (including furniture).

The development of HTD was developed in response to the European Union’s (EU) call for some wood treatment chemicals, particularly borates, to be assigned to the “Repro-toxic Category” under the Dangerous Substance Directive 67/548. FRIM has obtained patents for the HTD technology from the USA (March 2013) and Malaysia (October 2013). It has also filed for patents in six other countries: Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India.

Certified Timber

Malaysian Timber is Certified

Malaysian manufacturers benefit from well-managed forests. Malaysia has its own certification scheme called the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS), which is operated by the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC). The MTCS provides independent assessments of forest management practices in Malaysia to ensure the sustainable management of Malaysia’s forest and to meet the demand for certified timber products.

The MTCS gained international recognition after it was endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest certification programme. The MTCS is the first tropical timber certification scheme in the Asia Pacific region to be endorsed by the PEFC.
For more information, please visit www.mttc.com.my or www.pefc.org.