Although Vietnam is placed among leading wood exporters in the world, the domestic market is being dominated by foreign products or those made by small-and medium sized firms and trade villages, according to Tin tuc (News) newspaper.

A customer from Ho Chi Minh City's District 3, for example, said foreign wood products are global trend designs, whilst local products are of non-uniform quality and poor design.

Vietnam has 4,000 businesses operating in the wood product sector, of which 95 percent are privately owned.

Vietnam has more than 1,000 wood-processing craft villages nationwide, but due to a lack of a distribution system, the locally-made products, especially those in craft villages, have not been favoured by consumers.

Phan Chi Dung, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Light Industrial Department, said multinationals and foreign-invested enterprises had grabbed 80 percent of market share of wood and furniture products.

Many of the local companies are not competitive because of capital shortage and small-scale production. Moreover, it is difficult for them to quickly adapt to changing consumer tastes.

In addition, the raw material supply is heavily dependent on foreign imports, leading to higher selling prices. And promotional activities and designing works are still limited.

Nguyen Huu Toan, Director of Toan Thien An Interior Ltd Co, said businesses should have professional design teams, distribution channels, and registered trademarks.

"Exploiting the domestic market has many advantages, such as stable demand and stable production plans. Companies can adjust samples and designs to meet the taste of market," he added.

At the seminar "Vietnam Economy 2014 and business prospects in the furniture sector" held recently in Ho Chi Minh City, many participants said the local wood market had great potential in a country of 90 million people.

According to Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association, a Vietnamese household spends about 6 million VND (285.7 USD) for furniture products per year.

With a growing economic recovery, domestic consumption this year is expected to reach more than 2 billion USD and will increase in coming years.

Creating linkages between local and foreign businesses would help them learn experiences from their foreign partners.-VNA