THE Ideal Home Expo being held over these four days is a perfect opportunity for furniture manufacturers and tenders to show their range of products to consumers. It also gives them the chance to secure potential sales and expand in the market. In Hongkong, our industry is closely linked with the property market. This is reflected by the state of business in the past year when we saw setbacks due to the Government's control over mortgage packages offered by banks. In recent years, we have seen many manufacturers and retailers set up their factories in China. This has resulted in an increase in production and direct selling practices. To cope with this, more stores have been opened in Hongkong. If this trend continues, there will be a crisis by 1995. We need to explore other markets besides the limited Hongkong market. China is the most obvious choice and in the past has proven a profitable option. It should become our biggest market for the sale of Hongkong furniture in the next decade. Of course, many leading manufacturers and suppliers from countries such as the United States, Italy, Germany and France are trying to reach the China market via Hongkong and it is anticipated that Spain and Taiwan will also become aggressive participants. In the next five years, I believe furniture made in China will be of such a high quality that it will be in a position to provide serious competition to other Southeast Asian producers. In Hongkong, the market will remain stagnant until a thorough development plan is launched. I hope the Government will give the furniture trade more support, directly or indirectly through the Trade Development Council, by organising various programmes and offering more opportunities for people in the industry to exhibit their products in the overseas market. This will be beneficial to our export trade. Shop rental is a major overhead for furniture dealers. I encourage developers to build industrial and commercial buildings in other areas of Hongkong where furniture retailers can use the whole building as a showroom.