By Roy C. Mabasa
Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries has confirmed that IKEA has indeed decided to “come in” and will open its first store in the country soon.
During a media roundtable held on the occasion of the 70th year of Sweden-Philippine Diplomatic Relations, Fries said once the Netherlands-based multinational group — that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories — decides to start operating in a particular country this implies major investments and manpower recruitment will soon follow.
“If (IKEA) goes in the Philippines, like it has gone in other countries, there would be great opportunities for Filipinos to find work and there would be investment in putting up stores,” the top Swedish diplomat in Manila said. “I won’t be surprised that once they have set their camp here, they’ll be looking for local manufacturing. I think that would be wonderful and interesting for the Philippines.”
Founded in Sweden in 1943, IKEA has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since at least 2008. The name is an acronym which stands for the name of company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad; Elmtaryd, the farm where he grew up; and Agunnaryd, his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden.
IKEA is known for its modern architectural designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity. Kamprad, meanwhile, is now one of the 10 richest people in the world and the owner of a more than $40 -billion fortune.