Why Home Depot Struggles and IKEA Thrives in China?

Forbes: Helen H. Wang

At a time when China’s home furnishings market surged 17 percent, the largest U.S. home improvement company Home Depot has been struggling and closed five stores since it entered the China market in 2006.

The Home Depot (9/365) (9/29/08)

Image by detbuzzsaw via Flickr

Analysts pointed to the fact that a “do it yourself” culture does not exist in China. True.  Because labor costs are relatively low, many homeowners would rather hire someone to do the work than do it themselves. Apparently, Home Depot made the same mistake as some other companies that entered China without understanding the local market, which is often dramatically different from their home market.

Unlike consumers in the West, Chinese consumers have no role model from older generations. Home ownership was non-existent about fifteen years ago. It was then very common for a family, sometimes three generations, to share a 300-square-feet room that they used for sleeping, eating and daily activities. A kitchen was not even a necessity as many people simply cooked in a common area outside their room. Continue reading

Furnishing A Beautiful Home

Furnishing a new home can be a very challenging project. There are so many things that need to be taken into consideration: the quality, the style, the comfort, and the price, etc. Most of all, how we furnish our homes tells a lot about who we are and what we value.

Despite my strong interest in home design, getting the right furniture for my new home is still quite an overwhelming task. After some intense research and numerous visits to furniture stores, I found the fine furniture by Amini Innovation Corp. (AICO) a shining crown jewel that clearly stands out among its rivals.

Designed in the United States with an exquisite European touch, AICO furniture featuring Michael Amini Signature Series are impressive collections of distinctive style and fine quality. Each carefully designed piece is marked with superior craftsmanship. Thanks to globalization, AICO furniture is handcrafted and manufactured in China, making this high-end luxury home furniture relatively affordable.

Among its many selections, Cortina bedroom set caught my attention. Inspired by the beautiful resort Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy, the Cortina bedroom furniture is a stunning example of combining classic sleigh bed with modern elegance. Its unique Oval Marble Medallion accent in the center of the headboard gives a feel and look of majesty; and the gentle curves and subtle texture set the tone for romance. Indeed, each collection of AICO furniture is characterized with a cultrural and cosmopolitan flair.

When it comes to home furnishing, I see it more than a project to furnish a beautiful and comfortable home. It is also a chance to go deeper inside ourselves and understand who we are and how we want to express ourselves. As we know, after traveling all over the world, the greatest trip is returning home – that’s where our families and friends are.

Please also see my previous post Home, Sweet Home

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