The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is trying to convince the regional franchisee of Ikea to source local materials from the Philippines, which could then be exported to other parts of Southeast Asia.
This is according to Senen Perlada, director of DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau, who said such an initiative would require that the material be available in a massive and sustainable scale so it could be used for the designs of the Swedish furniture giant.
The global retailer will open its biggest store in the world in Manila. Apart from the physical store in Pasay City, which would be the largest IKEA store to date, the Swedish firm will also open call center operations and a warehouse to support its e-commerce arm. … IKEA originally planned to open in the Philippines in 2020, P7-billion project that will cover about 65,000 square meters at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. but construction delays pushed back the opening to 2021.
This will be done by Ikea Southeast Asia which also owns and operates seven Ikea stores in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
“[Furniture] designs come all the way from Sweden. They will not allow any other designs. That’s all Swedish aesthetic. But regarding the materials—that’s where we can come in,” Perlada said.
The materials, he said, could range from fabric to bamboo or coconut for kitchen items. To become part of the Ikea supply chain, he said the material must “be available for as much as possible for the entire franchise system.” He said that DTI’s suggestion was to have the material available to at least the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which would be easier since the franchisee already has operations here in the region.
“We’re working on it. We understand their difficulty because once they adopt a product, it must be available system-wide. So I said, maybe we could start in the region first. We have the [Asean free trade area], so it’s easier for the materials to enter another country,” he added.
Founded in Sweden more than 75 years ago, IKEA today is the world’s largest home furnishing retailer with more than 400 stores in 50 countries. Now, we are preparing to make a new home in the Philippines. Come 2021, IKEA will open its store in Pasay City to give millions of Filipinos easy access to a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low almost everyone will be able to afford them.
With additional reports: Roy Stephen C. Canivel, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Photo source: Esquiremag.ph, seasia.co, CTTO