Trends and News for SMBs | January

Trends and News for SMBs | January
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Keep your business up to speed with the latest news.

Vietnam’s manufacturing power attracts increased container vessel connections

Vietnam’s increasing importance on the global manufacturing stage is ensuring that North American buyers have much more ocean shipping options to transport goods to home markets.

The Southeast Asian country’s importance as a sourcing destination is showing up on indexes measuring container shipping connectivity. In Sea-Intelligence’s latest shipping connectivity index, Vietnam was the country that showed the greatest improvement over the last quarter.

The index showed that Vietnam’s liner shipping connectivity rose 13.7% year-on-year in Q4. This lifted it to ninth place in Sea-Intelligence’s index – a rise in five places.

Ocean carriers have taken a bigger interest in Vietnamese ports as the country reaps the benefits of actions taken by the US and other Western countries to diversify supply chains away from China.

Increased exports to the US also played a significant role in Vietnam’s increasing attractiveness to global container shipping liners. 

MB Shipbrokers said that Vietnam’s total exports between January and November 2023 were 12% higher than in 2019  – with containerized exports to North America rising by 44% in this period.

“Vietnam’s connectivity has been on a consistent upwards trajectory, although there was a substantial jump during the pandemic years. In the last few quarters, there has been a slightly sharper upwards trend than pre-pandemic,” Sea-Intelligence said in its latest weekly report.

Other Asian countries that see a rise in shipping connectivity included Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. Of the index’s top 20 countries, Japan saw the largest decline in liner shipping connectivity and was the only Asian country to see negative change.

Vietnam’s goal for 2024 is to increase exports by about 6% compared to 2023 and maintain a trade surplus of around $15 billion. Truong Van Cam, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that the industry aims to boost exports by 9.2% this year.


Furniture buyers get ready for major China trade fair

Furniture buyers are gearing up for one of the most important events in their annual calendar – the major global furniture industry trade fair CIFF Guangzhou.

The event will take place in two phases. The first will be held from March 18 to March 21, 2024. It will mainly focus on home furnishings with sections dedicated to design, sofa and bed, and dining and living, as well as home decor and home textiles outdoor furniture.

The second phase will be held from March 28 to March 31, 2024 and will be dedicated to office and commercial space. This phase will showcase workplace systems, smart office solutions, seating, and furniture. 

Organizers of the event, which will take place at the Canton Fair complex, expect more than 4,000 exhibitors. Attractions will include the Firefly Museum Children’s Space, China Smart Sleep Exhibition, and the Global Garden Live Festival.

The home decor & home textile sector is expected to feature 700 exhibitors and attract international buyers looking for products. These include home accessories, decorative lighting, ceramics, glassware, paintings and illustrations, home textiles, curtains, carpets, bed linen, and cushions.

Last year the fair made a comeback after taking a break since the pandemic, setting a new record for attendance with more than 380,000 visitors from 166 countries – up nearly 28% from pre-pandemic levels.

This year it aims to offer more services to international buyers, such as the InterBiz club which is tailored specifically for ecommerce retailers and international traders, distributors, designers, and buyers from larger companies. The club membership includes networking and VIP options.

The event will coincide with CIFM/interzum Guangzhou – which will showcase technologies and raw materials for the furniture industry supply chain.


Vietnam’s fast-growing apparel sector counts on a major new showcase

Buyers will have new opportunities to make contacts within Vietnam’s rapidly-growing apparel and textiles industry as the countdown to its first new major trade fair begins.

The Vietnam International Trade Fair for Apparel, Textiles and Textile Technologies (VIATT) will make its debut on February 28, 2024. The event will take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC), Ho Chi Minh City, and will run until March 1, 2024.

Major global trade fair organizer Messe Frankfurt (HK) will be partnering with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) to run the event.

Wendy Wen, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt (HK), described the fair as “a diverse, one-stop sourcing event for buyers across all categories, from garments, fabrics, yarns and fibers to textile machinery, technical textiles and nonwovens, and everything in between.”

Strong growth and an increasing desire among international buyers – especially those from the US – to look beyond China, have turned Vietnam into the world’s third largest textile and garment exporter.

According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the country’s textile and garment industry has grown by between 20% and 26% between 2018 and 2022.

This is mostly due to a series of international trade agreements. Vietnam has also become a major importer of textile machinery, fabrics, yarns and fibers. The country’s garment industry is seeing particularly high growth in the sportswear category.

Organizers said the event aims to combine a mix of international and domestic exhibitors in sub sectors including garments, apparel fabrics and accessories, yarns and fibers, digital printing, home textiles, technical textiles, textile processing and textile machinery.

Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), said that the event would benefit from Ho Chi Minh City’s accessibility, and Vietnam’s proximity to other leading textile-producing nations such as Bangladesh, China and India.


Bicycle powerhouse Taiwan gears up for Taipei Cycle 

The cycling world’s attention is set to fall on the major trade fair in bicycle manufacturing powerhouse Taiwan – Taipei Cycle.

Organizers of the event are expecting more than 20,000 visitors and more than 3,400 booths to the event – which will be held from March 6 to March 9, 2024. Taipei Cycle is expecting leading brands to showcase their latest innovations giving visitors the chance for test rides and insights into current and future trends. Themes like micro mobility and sustainability as well as e-bikes are expected to play a major role in the event.

From March 6 – 7 the fair will be open exclusively to trade visitors while from March 8 – 9, the general public will be admitted. The event will be held at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1.

In 2022, Taiwan’s biggest export customer for bicycles was the US – which accounted for 24.6% of exports, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, the export value of bicycle components and e-bikes rose strongly.

Taiwan was previously the world’s largest exporter of bicycles, but in recent years the focus has shifted towards the high end of the market as part of a transition from quantity to quality. In 2022, Taiwan’s bicycle industry output hit a record high and was worth just over $6 billion — up 26.4% in 2021.

An estimated 80% of medium to high end bicycles and bike components are made in Taiwan, or in Taiwanese-owned factories. Taiwanese brands such as Giant and Merida featured heavily at the 2023 Tour de France. According to official figures, Taiwan is the top source of parts for the US as well as China, accounting for 59.8% of parts in the US market and 59.4% in the Chinese market. It is also the largest producer of fully assembled bicycles in China.


Singapore tempts SMEs with high-tech ecosystems 

Singapore aims to boost its attractiveness for local and International SME manufacturers by expanding supplier ecosystem hubs. One prominent example is the Jurong Innovation District (JID), a one-stop advanced manufacturing hub that currently houses around 100 businesses. These include companies across the advanced manufacturing value chain, including training providers, advanced manufacturers, and research institutes.

The JID is due to expand to attract more industry 4.0 activities and companies.

Nelson Liew, group director of new estates at national industrial estate developer JTC said: “The objective of Jurong Innovation District is for it to be a one-stop destination for technology development, where companies can come together to learn, to innovate, to test and to manufacture their products within the same estate.”

So far, the JID ecosystem’s access to organizations such as the nearby Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has mainly benefited Singaporean firms. For example, machine tool manufacturer Makino said that access to nearby additive manufacturing technology and talent helped it shave a year off research time and save nearly a million dollars in machinery costs.

The JID is hoping that this access to researchers and laboratories will also attract overseas investment and SMEs.


We at Ship4wd are dedicated to helping small and mid-sized businesses get the most out of their shipping processes. Regardless of their experience in logistics, business owners can count on us to get their shipments to where they need them.

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