Business / Industries

Nanaholy offers both furniture and culture

By YAN YIQI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-12 10:26

He remembers driving 1,000 kilometers to meet one rather special technician.

"He was 76 at that time and was the only person in China who could carve certain patterns on rosewood which had previously been applied only to furniture owned by royal families," he says.

Paying him 100,000 yuan a year, Jin then sent all his technicians to learn from the master.

"I viewed that more like preserving a technique than employing a person. I did it so that more Chinese people could continue to enjoy the legacies our ancestors left us," he says.

Nanaholy's head office in Yiwu has a permanent exhibition hall packed with an exquisite collection of rosewood furniture, the oldest dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

It also offers presentations to visitors on the different varieties of rosewood, the history of rosewood furniture making in China, and the ways of identifying an authentic from a fake.

The hall is open to tourists for free and offers souvenirs to those who cannot afford large pieces of rosewood furniture.

"Call it a promotional strategy if you like, but the exhibition helps boost our sales because people are getting to know the history behind our products," he says.

In 2010, Jin also invested 5 billion yuan to establish a rosewood-themed cultural park in Longyou, Zhejiang province, which is expected to be completed by 2018.

"Our target is to attract three million visitors, provide Chinese cultural courses to 50,000 people, as well as furniture and souvenirs worth 2 billion yuan by 2020," he says.

But more than anything else, he says, the park is about underlining the cultural values of the rosewood industry.

"People will be willing to pay higher for what we and others sell if they really appreciate the stories behind them."

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