JOHOR BARU: The opening of the largest Ikea store in South-East Asia here shows that Johor is increasingly becoming a popular destination for international companies to invest in, says the state government.
Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the store’s opening underscores the state’s strong economic standing and prevailing market demand.
“It is another feather in the cap for Johor as it moves to become an economic powerhouse,” said Tee who represented Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin at the event.
Johor Baru has also been identified as the Asian Home For Business in the state’s strategic development plan due to its potential to attract international trade, he said.
Tee hoped that local small and medium-scale enterprises and businesses would take the initiative to transform themselves, to keep up with their competition, seeing that more global corporations are expected to expand their businesses in Johor after this.
During the opening, Ikea South-East Asia managing director Christian Rojkjaer, South-East Asia retail director Mike King, Ikea Tebrau store manager Annie Chandler and deputy store manager Charles Sathis Nair sawed a log in half – a tradition – to officially launch the store.
King said the outlet in Taman Desa Tebrau is Ikea’s largest store in South-East Asia, taking up 46,713sq m. There were about 20,000 shoppers there on opening day.
“Prior to setting up the store, we conducted numerous home visits to get an insight into and ideas on what Johorean homes look like and the challenges the people face (in furnishing them),” he said.
King said construction is ongoing for a shopping outlet next to the store but did not reveal the date of its completion.