Interview: IKEA CTO optimistic about China’s business prospects

Interview: IKEA CTO optimistic about China's business prospects

, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — Swedish furniture giant is enthusiastic about new business opportunities emerging from the Chinese market, which has rapidly changing dynamics and behavioral changes of Chinese consumers, a senior IKEA executive told Xinhua recently.

“There’s a fundamental shift happening in , where people are getting more into health and wellness, people looking into how to create a community balance,” said Parag Parekh, co-chief digital officer and chief technology officer at IKEA Retail, which is owned by Ingka Group, which was founded by in 1943, selling household goods.

During the interview on the sidelines of the held here last week before IKEA displayed its pavilion at the fifth China International Import Expo, which runs through Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, Parekh stressed that he was positive about growing market share in China and expanding operations in the world’s second largest economy.

As Chinese consumers are increasingly willing to buy home furnishings to improve their living conditions, IKEA has spotted opportunities in China’s growing furniture market.

By 2021, 910 million pieces of furniture were produced in China, data from Daxue Consulting showed. The -based market research and consulting firm also expected strong growth in China’s furniture market, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent from 2022 onwards.

“We’re reading some of these trends to understand what the shift is going to be in terms of people’s engagement with the brand, and that will help us design and define what our product offering and what our engagement in China will be,” Parekh said.

Meanwhile, the chief technology officer noted “one of the biggest digital transformations” in IKEA’s nearly 80-year history, saying: “we are transforming from being a brick-and-mortar retailer to being an omnichannel retailer.”

“On the digital side in China, we are present with the website and our app. We have had the first pilots with WeChat mini-programs and the first contacts with ,” he said. “We’re looking at how we can grow and engage our physical versus digital footprint. It’s still a in progress.”





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