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AHEC launches new show apartment in China
with design excellence using US hardwoods

Shanghai, July 12, 2005 - The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) announced today the launch of a top-quality show apartment in China to demonstrate the quality and diversity of US hardwoods applications for interior decoration and fittings. This is the second show home project launched by AHEC in China since October 2003.

Located at Shanghai's landmark Xintiandi area, the 462-square-meter, 360-degree-view apartment inside the luxury condominium development, Richgate, was a joint effort with Shanghai Anderson Fuxing Land Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Shanghai Real Estate.

"We are very pleased to launch the second show home project in China, which is another vivid demonstration of how US hardwoods can be utilized to achieve a uniquely tasteful interior and lifestyle sought after by the wide range of successful people living in Shanghai," said Michael Snow, Executive Director of AHEC. " China's rapid economic growth and new housing privatization initiatives have created a new generation of increasingly affluent consumers who are eager to outfit their homes with quality interior decorations like US hardwoods. The completion of this signature show apartment in China is a testimony of our continued commitment to this important market."

Statistics show that in 2004, the value of US hardwood products imported to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan reached RMB3.6 billion (approximately US$500 million), representing a growth of 29.2% percent from 2003. Driven by strong market demand, China has been the world's leading US hardwoods importing country for three subsequent years.

"As the top-quality and currently the most expensive condominium development in Shanghai, Richgate caters to the most successful executives in Shanghai, from both home and abroad, and to that end we choose only the best materials for our development. What we pursue in overall design and architecture concept is a 'ai Pai' or Shanghai style, which the city of Shanghai is famous for throughout history as it has always outshine others in cleverly melding Chinese and Western styles and sensibilities. Use of US hardwoods aligns with this concept and we are glad to partner with AHEC again for this show home project." said Shi Jiandong, General Manager of Shanghai Anderson Fuxing Land Company Limited.

The show apartment featured three US hardwood species: cherry, walnut and red oak, adding richness and grandeur to the whole interior design. For example, cherry was used extensively for the wall panel of the living room, the bathroom cabinet and ceiling of the corridor; red oak was used for the kitchen cabinets, and both cherry and walnut were used for the parquet flooring. The furnished apartment demonstrates the upmarket standard at Richgate, and the same American hardwoods will be featured throughout the whole development's interior design.

In addition, two sets of American hardwood furniture were featured inside. The classic Chippendale series in the master bedroom, made of US birch, features 18th century English furniture style characterized by graceful flowing lines, cabriole legs, and elaborate ornamentation. And the New Toulon Bay series in one of the guest rooms feature French Provincial Style, a kind of country style which is best interpreted by red oak with its grain and texture. It is noted that furniture made of red oak, ranging from light grey to red brown in color, can be traced to medieval carvings and imperial thrones and are known for their unique style and majestic air.

"US hardwood is known for its exceptional quality and diverse applications," said renowned Hong Kong interior designer Patrick Fong, "Affluent city dwellers in metropolises like Shanghai are now pursing a high spiritual and cultural status in their living environment. US hardwoods were ingeniously utilized to match other interior design elements to create the rich and dramatic visual impact and touch and fit perfectly into the location of Richgate and the Xintiandi area. This is different to the first show home project where the use of US hardwoods aligned with the "natural" theme of the riverside villa in the countryside."

Awareness and acceptance for US hardwoods in Greater China has increased significantly over the past 10 years through AHEC efforts. Architects, interior designers and contractors have become increasingly knowledgeable and receptive to various applications of different US hardwood species.

"We are very excited that we are now able to show, for the second time, to the consumers in China a real life example of what a quality home designed with US hardwood products is all about, thanks to the support of the Foreign Agriculture Service of the US Department of Agriculture and Shanghai Real Estate. "We will continue to provide 'specifiers' in the industry with different technical support and guidance toward promoting the use of US hardwood products and enhancing their effective applications and competitiveness in the market. Looking ahead, we believe our China and Hong Kong markets will continue to register strong growth," said John Chan, Regional Director of AHEC's Southeast Asia and Greater China office.