At a recent international markets panel held in Washington DC, regional director of AHEC Mr John Chan announced Qingdao as the venue for its 2017 convention.
Qingdao is a city in eastern Shandong Province on the east coast of China, the largest in its province, administered at the sub-provincial level. Recent data shows Qingdao has a population of 9 million with an urban population of 6.1 million lying across the Shandong Peninsula and looking out to the Yellow Sea. It borders Yantai to the northeast, Weifang to the west and Rizhao to the southwest and is a major seaport, naval base, and industrial center. The world’s longest sea bridge, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, links the main urban area of Qingdao with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas. It is also the site of the famous Tsingtao Brewery, the second largest brewery in China, reflecting its former connections with Germany. In 2007, Qingdao was named as among China’s top ten cities and in 2009 was named China’s most liveable city by the Chinese Institute of City Competitiveness. In 2016 the city ranked 79th in the Global Financial Center Index
Commenting on the choice, John Chan says ”Shandong’s population in 2015 numbered 98.5 million with $9,694GDP per person and GDP growth in 2015 of 8.%. The number of furniture factories in Shandong in 2015 was 4,500 with around 600,000 employed. Among these were 544 registered government enterprises with revenue valued at $13.9 billion. The furniture industry has grown over 60% with average growth rate in the past 5 years over 12%. The Shandong furniture industry ranked fourth, after Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang in terms of total production and exports. Due to the Shandong Government’s economic planning in 2015, the furniture industry has been facing challenges and changes – namely the reform of the furniture industry to fit China’s national goal to reduce emission of carbon to reach green environment criteria; the demand of high quality, fashionable and locally designed furniture to meet the demand of its domestic market as well as exports. This demands high quality imported timber materials which consequently creates export opportunities for American hardwood in various grades. As Qingdao has been the central hub for commerce, transportation, shipping and logistics, manufacturing and design for the province of Shandong, it has been the venue for The International Furniture and Woodworking Machinery show for the last thirteen years, annually in May.”
China is the number one global market for American hardwood lumber and takes over 50% of all exports from the U.S. hardwood lumber industry. AHEC rotates its annual convention around Chinese and Southeast Asian cities and this is the second time in Qingdao. Many American exporters are expected to attend the event at the Westin Qingdao Hotel on 22/23 June 2017 to join with hundreds of Chinese delegates.
Further details will be announced online early in the new year at www.americanhardwoods.org