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Appalachian’s Walker College of Business and State Furniture Leaders Will Explore Business Opportunities in Asian Markets

BOONE — Administrators in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University and leaders with the state’s furniture industry are exploring international business opportunities in Asia.

“There is no doubt that the furniture industry plays a key role in North Carolina’s economy,” said Kenneth E. Peacock, dean of the Walker College of Business. “Also, the industry is facing rapid change as international business opportunities grow. Jointly, we will work to identify ways the industry can benefit from these changes by exploring promising international markets and developing the relationships needed to succeed in these markets. This partnership also will better prepare our business students who are planning careers in management, marketing or international business.”

Business college and furniture industry leaders will identify issues involved with expanding the North Carolina furniture market into Asia, including pricing and intellectual property issues, identifying and developing effective and meaningful joint ventures with large Chinese companies in light of the huge demand in China for U.S. home furnishings styled products, and avoiding the problems encountered by the textile

industry as it expanded into the international arena.

The meeting was coordinated by Charles R. Coley of Gold Springs Marketing

LLC,

Peacock and the Walker College of Business.

Furniture and related industry leaders from Bernhardt Furniture Company, Kincaid Furniture Company, Hammary Furniture Company, Hickory Chair, Leathercraft, E.J. Victor, Cumulus Fibers, Leggett and Plott, and McDaniel and Coley designers attended the meeting.

This new endeavor expands on the business college’s exchange program with Fudan University in Shanghai begun in 1995. Appalachian and Fudan business students work together throughout the year on a variety of business issues via e-mail. Each year they visit one another’s countries to work face-to-face on business case studies and learn about business practices in each other’s county.

A discussion of banking issues in the two countries prompted Fudan officials to ask Appalachian to co-host a banking conference in Shanghai. Chinese and American bankers, businessmen, academicians and government leaders attended the conference.

Peacock and others in the business college are seeking opportunities for similar research studies and conferences to benefit North Carolina’s expanding international markets.

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