The exterior of Asia’s biggest IKEA, to open in Shanghai’s Beicai town tomorrow. After 13 years in Shanghai, IKEA has become a byword for furniture shopping for Shanghaining. The city’s first IKEA in Xuhui district is always congested with shoppers on a mission for (sort of) stylish European furniture, authentic Swedish meat balls or simply a free bed to catch 40 winks.
This might explain why the Swedish furniture maker has decided to open its biggest store in Asia right here.
The congestion and huge lines in the store and the lack of parking space have made it difficult for our customers to experience better services. This is why Shanghai needs a second IKEA.
Covering 49,400 square meters, Shanghai IKEA Beicai is 1,300 square meters bigger than the current Shanghai Xuhui IKEA and is the largest in Asia.
It is also the second largest IKEA in the world, following IKEA Skärholmen near Stockholm.
This makes Shanghai the only city in China with more than one IKEA.
“The passenger flow in [Shanghai IKEA] Xuhui ranks the third in all IKEAs worldwide, and it is impossible to handle more customers,” says Gillian Drakeford, IKEA China’s Retail Manager.
“The congestion and huge lines in the store and the lack of parking space have made it difficult for our customers to experience better services. This is why Shanghai needs a second IKEA.”
The new IKEA in Pudong will house 60 sample rooms and 2,000 parking spaces. To serve as many meatballs as possible, its canteen alone can seat 760 people at the same time.
“Shanghai has a lot of potential for store openings,” says Jens Ulf Israelsson, general manager of Shanghai IKEA Beicai.
“We have seven stores in Paris, and the population of Paris is 14 million. Shanghai has around 23 million people. IKEA will surly focus on its development in Shanghai.”
Beicai town in Pudong, the location of Shanghai’s new IKEA, is one of the key areas for commercial development in Shanghai’s next Five-Year Plan.
The DIY furniture brand plans to open another six stores in China before 2015. It has already announced a third IKEA store in Shanghai Baoshan district, to be completed in 2014. A fourth Shanghai IKEA is also under planning.
According to a report on The Local last autumn, IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson expressed his hope for the brand to grow further in Asia in 2011.
Apart from expanding the existing market in China and Japan, IKEA — which was founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who is now one of the richest men in the world — is also planning to enter Korea and India.