IN 1992, there were 45,702 newly wed couples and 42,462 units of residential flats completed. These figures alone indicate that Hongkong's demand for home furnishings and appliances is high. But this demand is not limited to the territory as export figures indicate. Last year, total exports of Hongkong electrical products rose by 31 per cent to $64.2 billion. In 1992, exports of home furnishing products increased by 29 per cent to $27.9 billion over the previous year. Wooden furniture, including Chinese lacquered furniture, rosewood chairs, camphorwood cabinets, teak trunks, wall units and bookcases, formed the largest category, accounting for 41 per cent of total exports. Rattan furniture accounted for 16 per cent of exports, and metal furniture 14 per cent. This latter group included typewriter stands, lockers, executive swivel chairs and dining tables in conventional or futuristic models. Hongkong also produces an extensive range of glass furniture. Coffee tables, dining tables and wall panels are available in smoked or clear glass. Other popular export items include plastic multi-purpose racks and trays, cushions, pillows and mattresses. Total exports for 1992 were valued at more than $3.3 billion. Exports of Chinese-style wooden furniture are handled by the manufacturers and are usually produced in-house because quality is difficult to control when sub-contracting. The rattan sector, on the other hand, is characterised by the existence of a large number of small-sized sub-contractors which produce for the exporters who may either be manufacturers or trading agents. Most manufacturers produce under their own designs, although they will also work to customers' requirements. Overseas buyers include interior designers, design showrooms, high-end department stores and hotels. The hotel industry is the most important segment as buyers are willing to pay high prices for quality designs. The industry is dominated by a large number of small firms - 90 per cent of them employ fewer than 10 workers. Labour was estimated to be 27 per cent of the total production cost, although the metal furniture sector is more capital-intensive than the other sectors, with much of the work done by machines. Hongkong depends heavily upon the import of raw materials. Malaysia and Burma are the largest suppliers of hardwood. Taiwan and Singapore are the leading suppliers of veneers and plywood, while raw rattan is mainly imported from Indonesia. Iron and steel comes from Japan and Taiwan. Wooden furniture can be divided into two categories: traditional Chinese, accounting for 80 per cent of exports, and contemporary Western style. Contemporary furniture is mainly for domestic consumption. Due to lower material cost, the price of the rattan furniture is considerably lower than that of other wooden furniture. And because it is popular in Western countries, more than 90 per cent of rattan products are exported. Hongkong has been striving to keep up with international trends - or even to set them. The territory's engraved glass products, including office partitions, showcases and shop windows, are increasingly popular in overseas markets, especially in Japan. Sand blasting removes a thin layer of glass, and the impression of the design is etched on the reverse side of the glass, leaving a smooth finish on the viewing surface. Because of high storage and production costs, some manufacturers have shifted part of their production to China, as reflected by the continuous growth of re-exports of China origin through Hongkong. However, to ensure quality production, the final finishing processes are still completed in Hongkong.