Thousands of buyers streamed into Southeast Asia's leading furniture show for a rousing start to the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) 20th anniversary edition. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed officially opened the show that is running across two venues, the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) and nearby Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC), and will end on 8th March.

The trade show has grown from 152 Malaysian exhibitors and 2500 overseas buyers in 1995 to 500 local and international exhibitors and over 6000 overseas buyers from around the world.

Exhibitors from 13 countries and regions are displaying their latest collections and products at this year's show which occupies 80,000 gross square metres.

The global appeal of MIFF is reflected in its impressive turnout of buyers from over 140 countries and the year-after-year record sales that reached an estimated $854m in business deals last year. 

Exhibitors are also capitalising on MIFF's global reach as a gateway into Southeast Asia and the swelling buyer traffic from the emerging markets of Africa, Middle East, South America, East Europe and South Asia.

A signature event held alongside the trade show is the annual MIFF Furniture Design Competition (MIFF FDC) featuring 10 talented young designers with 11 entries rising above 244 total entries selected by an international jury. The prototypes of the finalists designing for the theme "Living Furniture, Leading Design" are showcased at MECC during MIFF.

The prize presentation for MIFF FDC and two honours for exhibitors - Best Presentation Award and Furniture Excellence Award - will be held on Thursday afternoon at MECC with Mr Mark Rozario, CEO of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, as the guest of honour.

Another major draw for visitors is the topical industry seminars that include the shaping of Malaysian design for the global market, the latest on intellectual property for the furniture industry in Malaysia, the award-wining U.S-patented high temperature drying technology for rubber wood by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia and green technology products.

Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat, chairman of MIFF, says: "MIFF's focus has always been to meet and exceed the expectations of our exhibitors and buyers and deliver the best organised show possible. We are very proud to be serving the Malaysian and global furniture industry for 20 years and will continue to do so, and provide even more future business opportunities."

Mr Jime Essink, president and CEO of UBM Asia, says: "MIFF is one of the seven world-wide furniture events dedicated to the furniture industry by UBM. This gives our customers the added advantage to benefit from the synergy of these exhibitions such as Furniture China, Index Fairs in India, FIDexpo in Russia, Indonesia International Furniture Expo, Interiors UK and May Design Series in UK, to explore new business opportunities and maximise best sourcing channels."

Interested buyers can still register on-site at Registration Counters in PWTC (Level 2) and MECC (Ground floor) throughout the duration of the show between 9.30am and 6pm.