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A scene from Ambiente expo in 2019

- The first time the association takes part in the German consumer goods trade fair -

Yangon, 12 December


Frankfurt, the fifth largest city as well as a financial hub of Germany, annually hosts an international consumer goods trade fair named Ambiente in February.

Ambiente is organised by Messe Frankfurt, one of the biggest global event organisers that arrange expos, conferences and other events around the world.

Frankfurt-based Messe Frankfurt is now over 100 years of establishment, since it was formed in 1907.

The First Time

International consumer goods trade fair Ambiente, organised into three separate product segments - Living, Dining and Giving, can be introduced as a huge goods market where more than 4,500 exhibitors from over 90 countries and more than 136,000 shoppers from over 160 countries come together. Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Entrepreneurs Association are now prepared to take part in Ambiente for the first time.   

Ambiente is held in February annually, and is the world’s largest consumer goods trade fair
Ambiente is held in February annually, and is the world’s largest consumer goods trade fair

“It has been so long that Ambiente is held. Being not like other shows is that it attracts a queue of exhibitors who want to be a part. And the show offers a high market demand. There are a large number of onlookers as well as buyer businessmen. And it also boasts a large number of participating countries,” U Kyaw Thu, Chairman of Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Association, said to BETV Business.

“It is not certain to have an opportunity to take part in the fair if we applied individually. So we applied as an association, and it succeeded. The organisers show respect to us because we are an association and we are like representing a nation,” added U Kyaw Thu.

Ambiente will be held for a whopping five days from 7 February 2020 to 11 February 2020, offering a collection of the finest variety of designs from various countries for shoppers’ choice.

Desire to Gain a Sustained Share of World Market

It was Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Entrepreneurs Association’s plan to go in for Ambiente with an ambition to secure long-term customers from the world countries including Europe.

“This is not like other fairs we go and sell products in such countries as Thailand and Singapore. In such events, Myanmar people find happiness and come back with satisfaction when their products are sold out. This is not like that. This show is for business to business selling. We plan to go to this fair in order to secure long-term customers.”

Ambiente is not a kind of trade fair where exhibitors vend their products for a one-time trading. It is a trade fair in which participants have to make an effort in competition against others to be able to attract potential buyers from Europe and other countries by demonstrating their best innovations.  

This time, four Myanmar companies – TK Interiors, Calamus Hill, Classic Home, and Su Shwe Nadi Trading – that manufacture and distribute furniture items, handicrafts, lacquer ware and marble ornaments, and home textiles will go to Frankfurt in February coming year under the leadership of Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Entrepreneurs Association to vie for an engagement with global buyers.       

Ambiente - starting with Bella Interiors

Although it is said that Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Entrepreneurs Association is set to take part in the world’s largest consumer goods expo in Frankfurt of Germany as an association for the first time, there is a company that has ever been to Ambiente in the past and is also preparing to go there in February for the fifth time.

Bella Interiors from Myanmar make the very-first participation in Ambiente in 2016, and took part in the event yearly
Bella Interiors from Myanmar make the very-first participation in Ambiente in 2016, and took part in the event yearly

It is Bella Interiors Co., Ltd, a business that manufactures and sells home decoration ornaments made from cane, bamboo and palm fronds.

“We are gaining momentum as we already have four years’ experience. We are witnessing an increasing number of international buyers as well as customers who really want to purchase from us. This is partly because of a trend change. Customers become to put more trust in us. Now they are confirming orders in an immediate manner. There are some out of those customers who made a contact with us in advance to tell us to come back to Ambiente in 2020 in order to receive orders,” said Daw Swe Zin Lae, Director at Business Development Department of Bella Interiors.

With regards to Ambiente, it tends to turn out a 10 per cent increase of new buyers at the start of the show if compared to the period before the show, added Daw Swe Zin Lae.

“There arises an additional five buyer countries namely Sweden, Turkey, Mauritius, Europe, and Africa. In some cases, we need to ship products to two or three customers in parallel.”      

Worries to invest

Daw Khin Miralay, Official-in-Charge at Myanmar representative office of Messe Frankfurt that organises Ambiente, said that handicraft businesses in Myanmar feel concerned to take a risk in investing to travel and participate in major trade shows held in such regions as Europe.

“You cannot expect to sell out your products in a one-time selling in this kind of expo.”

Participating exhibitors need to use more than 3,000 € to rent a 9 sq. m space at Ambiente international consumer goods trade fair.

“The Rattan and Bamboo Association has rented 20 sq. m. It costs over 7,000 €. It would cost approximately 10,000 € if we take such spending as decoration expenses into calculation. That is the amount yet including tax,” said Daw Khin Miralay.

While this kind of marketplace boasting major buyers offers a lot of opportunities, a keen exhibitor is required to think about the need to make substantial investments first, before expecting ensuing profits.      

Local handicraft businesses are in need of government’s support in addition to finance, technology and easy-to-follow procedures to go to international markets. Photo - BETV Business
Local handicraft businesses are in need of government’s support in addition to finance, technology and easy-to-follow procedures to go to international markets. Photo - BETV Business

Myanmar Rattan and Bamboo Entrepreneurs Association Chairman U Kyaw Thu revealed that governments in other countries subsidise local business entrepreneurs to be able to participate in such major trade shows as Ambiente.

“Governments in other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia finance an example of USD 5,000 if the total cost amounts to USD 10,000. Here in Myanmar does not have such policy. Departments like commerce ministries finance this activity in other countries.”

Thus, it would be favourable if the government can, by setting up a fund, afford support for those handicraft businesses which have ability to export their products, pointed out Daw Swe Zin Lae from Bella Interiors.

“Myanmar’s economy is in a transitional period. Senior officials at our association also present the proposal to the relevant authorities. It have been understood that they have not yet been able to take a look at our side as the government procedures need to pass a hierarchy,” she added.

Procedural Hindrances

Another fact is that rattan and bamboo entrepreneurs get caught in limitations in pursuing existing procedures, since non-hardwood materials such as rattan and bamboo are placed under the category of wood products.

“It should not be classified as wood products but should be permitted under the category of furniture and handicrafts,” said U Kyaw Thu.

U Kyaw Thu added that “We get entangled in multi considerations of innovating designs, manufacturing new items, choosing alternative raw materials, and fixing a competitive price in rivalry with the global manufacturers. And we also have to pay a special attention to making products modern. Against this backdrop, it poses a setback to us to follow the existing procedures.”


Writer – Aung Thura