IKEA-less

OK, so what’s the deal with IKEA not having a store in Qingdao? Even Tianjin is getting a store soon, and that will make a total of 9 locations around China with not one of them here in Qingdao. Shopping online is not an option outside of Sweden and Denmark, and besides, one wouldn’t want to miss out on the 6 yuan coffees in the cafeteria.

Not all the products in the store can be listed online anyway, so the IKEA experience is something to be experienced physically instead of virtually. While you’re there, you can even snap a few photos for the family album. Finally, to really put this into some weird perspective, there is a rather large IKEA corporate office in Qingdao. Quite often people get excited when they hear of the Swedish presence in Qingdao, only to come back to Earth when it’s explained that, although a boatload of stuff is sourced through Shandong, none of it is actually sold here. That is, unless you count the miscellaneous random item that slips into the underground market near the train station, like the wayward wicker mats or wooden easels spotted in the catacombs beneath the Qingdao Zhan.

Sure, IKEA may not be for everyone, and like Phoebe Buffay, some cringe at having the same stuff as millions of other humans.

Qingdao’s an Olympic city now and it’s a pretty affluent place. The USC U.S.-China Institute says that Qingdao’s per capita GDP (using 2000 to 2005 stats) was greater than Shenyang, Chengdu, and even Beijing, and things have definitely gotten better since then. The Economist Intelligence Unit says that Qingdao’s GDP jumped up more than 13% in 2008, so there’s got to be some money floating around somewhere in the Sailing City.

Surely we can’t be the only ones that feel you just can’t beat the big blue box and oversized yellow bags for some passably hip Western style home goods at a very reasonable price. Come on IKEA, we know there’s a market for you here, if you’d just take a chance on us!

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Relevant Links:
Official IKEA (China) Website

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6 Comments

  1. Joz whatever

    my mom would love this post…
    yesterday she asked me how to buy a cushion in IKEA for her friend…
    I told her to buy it in Shanghai… or give it up~

  2. Actually that Illinois shop moved out to the Haibo furniture mall area behind the Shandong Road Carrefour. I’m not sure what the road is called but the shop was still there about one year ago. But since this is Qingdao, it could be gone by now.

    I miss IKEA as well, so while we’re on topic here with this article:

    What are other good places to buy IKEA-like stuff? There are by now 3 big Haibo furniture malls around but they sell mostly ugly furniture and no small things. There must be a place for us Qingdaonese to find cool things for our homes. Any ideas?

  3. Christopher, actually if you go onto taobao.com and search for what you are looking for, you’re bound to find something. Most of the furniture on taobao is meant for foreign export and they just sell some here and there through taobao.

    My wife and I looked around for a little couch that could also be a bed and after all the crappy futons we looked at we decided to check taobao and found the perfect one, really good quality and for about the same price as the crappy futons we saw in the furniture stores.

    Just check the users ratings and comments to find out stuff about the quality of what they are selling. We have only run into 1 problem with quality and it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

    They also have a lot of random stuff that you can’t find around town. So basically when all else fails it’s definitely a nice alternative to check out.

  4. Andrea

    I am getting to miss IKEA’s food and coffee… so much…

  5. Joz whatever

    hoho~cheap hotdog…
    miss it too…

  6. Thank you Hunter for that tip! I use Taobao a lot but I never checked the IKEA stuff (only toys and electronics so far). So I checked Taobao and it looks like you can get everything from IKEA delivered to your home anyway.
    Only downside is that they don’t deliver the coffee and food to Andrea’s place.

    And speaking of Taobao. There’s a great guide online for people who can’t speak Chinese and don’t know how to use and buy from Taobao. It’s http://www.taobaofieldguide.com

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