Salone del Mobile: destination Shanghai

An initiative that aims to facilitate the entry of companies into China by helping them to create contacts and business opportunities. FederlegnoArredo has been moving in this direction, especially in the last two years, with B2B initiatives and activities, which are now culminating in a much more ambitious project: to bring Italian excellence to a market that encompasses 70% of Italian furniture exports, through the consolidated format of Salone di Milano, which be in its 55th edition next year. And to achieve this with a three-year project that will define the next three years.


This first edition features several new additions, as Giovanni De Ponti, CEO of Salone del Mobile, explained. First, freedom when it comes to staging the exhibition spaces (like in Milan, but not in Moscow); the fair will be by invitation, both for exhibitors (between 60 and 80 companies), and for the public, guaranteeing a high calibre of industry professionals. An unprecedented decision has also been made to place furniture products alongside names in the food, automotive and fashion industries, creating a comprehensive union between Italian products. As always, the Salone exhibitions will be accompanied by cultural events: namely, Salone Satellite, which will offer an important stage for young Chinese designers, and Master Classes, where famous figures in the design world will discuss architecture and design.

FLA president, Roberto Snaidero, emphasized that the government’s collaboration, in particular that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, and the Italian Trade Agency, was instrumental to the creation of the project. Partners of the enterprise will include BolognaFiere and in particular its president, Duccio Campagnoli, who has a decade of experience in the market.

But what can China add to the event? Marco Fortis, vice president of the Edison Foundation, clarified this. “Chinese consumers are seeking exclusive luxury, ultra-luxury that small-medium Italian artisans are still able to offer. They want original Made in Italy products. There is a growing trend of furniture imports to China, which puts Italy in first place as China’s furniture industry partner.” Italy plays a crucial role in Chinese furniture imports: for example, it comprises 49.3% of the upholstered wooden sofa sector, 63.5% of leather sofas, about 30% of lighting, and 20% of rooms and furniture (except for kitchens and offices).

Consequently, forecasts are optimistic: between January and September 2015, Italian furniture companies exported 19% more than last year (with a year-end estimate of 270 million euro), while Italian furniture sales in China are expected to increase by 40% by 2019.