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IKEA to up China investment, presence to tap home furnishing potential

Global home furnishing giant IKEA plans to increase its investment and presence in China as part of the company's localization strategy to expand its business and cater to the shifting local consumer demands.
The Sweden-based company will make its biggest investment in China in fiscal year 2020 and more investment in the following two years as home furnishing is expected to boom in China, IKEA China announced Thursday.
The investment plan is part of IKEA China's "Future+" strategy for the local market in the next three years featuring enhanced accessibility, digitalization and home expertise services.
"The home furnishings market in China is now in a phase of stable growth. In addition, urbanization, digitalization and people's increasing disposable income are changing the way how people live and consume," said Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, CEO and president of IKEA China.
As part of the plan, IKEA will upgrade its existing stores, and will accelerate its expansion in China by opening four new stores in the next four months.
Meanwhile, e-commerce coverage will be expanded, while small stores will be opened to create more meeting places close to consumers.
To catch up with China's advanced digital adoption, the company will provide digital tools offline to simplify the shopping process, creating an inspiring and convenient shopping experience online. A digital hub was established last month as a brand-new business unit to enable the company's digital capabilities.
More diverse business models will be explored to reinforce the company's role as a home furnishing consultant, with key initiatives including launching full-house design services starting from bedrooms and kitchens and upgrading its B2B service to work with commercial real estate companies on furnished apartments, long-term rental apartments and offices.
The company opened its first China store in Shanghai in 1998, and now operates 27 stores, two experience centers, four distribution centers and seven parcel delivery centers on the Chinese mainland. It launched e-commerce services in October 2018 covering 227 cities and areas. China is the only market other than Sweden that has a comprehensive IKEA value chain.
IKEA has full confidence in the market and a strong belief that the new strategy will help the company to create a better everyday life for even more Chinese people, Pawlak-Kuliga said, adding, "We are here for the long term."

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