The picture frame industry in China has seen rapid growth since the last decade of the 20th century, thanks to fast growing demand from overseas markets.
Production techniques of picture frames have gone from “home-made” to mass production in the past two decades. Nowadays, major production areas are primarily coastal provinces, with Zhejiang and Guangdong taking the lead. This is most likely the result of abundant natural resources and international logistic advantages.
Manufacturers in Zhejiang Province account for about 40% of all Chinese picture frame manufacturing. This industrial concentration has led to rapid development of supporting industries.
Picture frame manufacturers in Guangdong Province account for about 33% of all Chinese picture frame manufacturing. Guangdong province has a long history of traditional wooden furniture manufacturing and trading. As a result of manufacturers seeking diversity, picture frames became a logical choice, as well as other wood ware manufacturing.
Other provinces, such as Fujian, Shandong and Jiangsu make up another 15% of total manufacturers of these products.
However, picture frame manufacturers in China are facing tough challenges in recent years. First of all, the rising costs of materials, labor and appreciation of the Yuan are squeezing profit margins.
Secondly, slumping demand in international markets, especially in Europe as a result of the EU debt crises, has caused a downturn in export volumes of picture frames.
Thirdly, most domestic manufacturers constantly face price wars as a result of too much product similarity. This further lowers profit margins.
Lastly, high-tech products such as digital cameras and digital photo frames are changing consumer behavior greatly. These advances in technology have tended to take away market share from traditional picture frames.
Fortunately, there are opportunities lying ahead. Product innovation is believed to be a key to success in tough times by allowing expansion into wall decoration markets. Also, emerging markets such as BRIC and ASEAN show great potential for picture frame consumption due to rapid economic development.