China’s Middle-class Loves IKEA

IKEA’s combination of low prices and easily assembled products is a hit with China’s growing number of middle-class homeowners. 

Some customers have taken the store’s hospitality too far and are asleep on the showroom beds.


Liu Zheliangjun, 20, a student who is visiting the store with his girlfriend, says IKEA is particularly popular with young Chinese moving into their first home.


“They don’t have much space so they need simple things,” Mr Liu says. “I don’t like traditional furniture. I don’t think many young people like it. It’s too complicated.”


Simple furniture is becoming “more and more popular”, says Zou Aimei, 45, a civil servant.


“This type of furniture looks quite good in a small space and quite a few of my friends are buying from IKEA.”


It would seem the Swedish furniture retailer’s plan of low prices and easily assembled products is a hit with China’s growing number of middle-class homeowners.


But many of the foreign furniture and home-decorations chains that have landed in China have found the market harder going than expected.


IKEA’s first store in China opened in Shanghai in 1998 and since then the chain’s expansion has been modest, given the size of the market and the company’s growth in other countries. There are now seven IKEAs across the country.

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