Ikea, the world's largest home-furnishing retailer, is counting on record store openings worldwide to drive sales growth of about 10 percent next year because demand in Europe may not recover until the end of next year, chairman Hans-Goeran Stennert said. \nEconomies in Europe, where Ikea makes 77 percent of its 12 billion euros (US$13.3 billion) in annual sales, stagnated in the first half as Germany, Italy and the Netherlands went into recession. Ikea, which has 184 stores worldwide, plans to open 16 to 20 new stores in Asia, Europe and the US next year, the most in its 60-year history. \n"During the late 1970s and the whole of the 1980s and 1990s we were expanding rather heavily in existing countries in Europe," Stennert said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur. Now, "the Asian part will really grow." \nAsia, together with the Middle East and Australia, now accounts for 4 percent of Ikea's revenue. \nThe company -- which last week opened its biggest Asian store in Malaysia -- plans to open five to eight new Ikea stores a year in Asia, including Australia, over the next five years. It also plans to open five stores a year in North America, and about 10 shops a year in Europe, including Russia, Stennert said. Some of the Asian outlets will be operated by franchisees outside the Ikea group. \nThe company, founded in 1943, started by selling pens, wallets and picture frames. Now, it sells designer furniture and kitchen wares at affordable prices. \nIn May, Ikea said it plans to spend US$600 million to open 10 stores in China by 2010, a six fold increased in its China investments. It also has its eyes on Japan, "a very big market," Stennert said. Ikea plans to open its first store in Japan in late 2006 at the earliest. \nIt has bought a piece of land in the Tokyo area and is negotiating on the purchase of another, Stennert said. \nIkea also plans to focus on countries such as the UK, France and Italy, where difficulty in finding land and getting building permits prevented the company from opening as many stores as it would have liked, Stennert said. \nThe company will probably chalk up sales growth of about 10 percent in the year ending next year Aug. 31, compared with a gain of 5 percent this year, according to Stennert. That's about half the pace at which sales were growing a few years ago. In the three years to August 2000, they increased at an annual rate of about 20 percent. \nIkea's new store in Malaysia drew 39,000 visitors on opening day last week. \nThe company has invested 300 million ringgit (US$79 million) on the 35,800m2 outlet and an adjoining shopping center that will open in December. The store alone is roughly the size of five soccer fields.
The Czech Republic’s Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that supports a possible visit by the senate president to Taiwan. The resolution, initiated by Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, was passed with 50 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. The resolution blasts Beijing for having its Prague embassy send a letter to former Czech Senate president Jaroslav Kubera earlier this year threatening repercussions for Czech businesses if he visited Taiwan. The resolution shows the Senate’s support for a visit to Taiwan by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, accompanied by Czech business representatives, as the visit would be in the diplomatic long-term interests
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
STRONGER DEFENSES: The announcement could be considered tacit US support for the nation’s indigenous arms manufacturing program, Joseph Wu told lawmakers Just hours after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration on Wednesday, the US Department of State’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in Washington the possible sale of 18 MK-48 Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. Reacting to the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the ministry applauded the US move, which would help to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA states that the US should “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character … to maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer