Ikea plans $60m for Tianjin store
By Wang Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-22 10:19

Ikea plans to pour in around $60 million to set up a retail outlet in Tianjin, aiming to cash in on the fast development of the coastal municipality.

The home furnishing retailer has inked a primary deal with Tianjin Dongli district, and the construction of its Tianjin outlet may kick off this summer, Ian Duffy, president of IKEA Asia-Pacific, told China Daily on the sidelines of the ongoing China Tianjin Trade Fair and Investment Talk.

The store, spanning 600,000 sq m, will be Ikea's fifth franchised store in China, after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The project will embody functions of shopping, entertainment, leisure, culture and catering, according to Tianjin Mayor Huang Xingguo.

"Tianjin is, without any doubt, one of the most progressive and rapidly growing cities in China now," Duffy said. The city will offer a golden business opportunity for Ikea, he added.

The Swedish company is working hard not only on its product designs but also on the building that will house the store and its energy sources.

"What we are planning in Tianjin is a leading-edge development in environmental protection," the Ikea executive said.

Along with 13 other members of a European retail roundtable, Ikea recently announced its commitment to energy efficiency and wider use of renewable energy.

The retailers vowed to reduce energy consumption per square meter of commercial space by at least 20 percent by 2020 and work to surpass a European Commission renewable energy target of 20 percent.

Mayor Huang said Ikea will gain much from a large commercial project in Tianjin, given the city's fast development.

Refusing to elaborate on the potential commercial returns from Tianjin, Duffy said Ikea will be successful in the city and will have a sound partnership with the local government.

The retailer has been doing business in the nation for 10 years now. It plans to open new stores this year in Shenzhen, Nanjing and Dalian, and to continue opening at least one or two stores every year in the country.

Some 71 projects were signed during the 15th China Tianjin Trade Fair and Investment Talk, including Ikea's, on Sunday, with the contracted value reaching 57.42 billion yuan ($8.2 billion).

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