MANILA, Philippines – The opening of furniture giant IKEA's first store in the Philippines in 2020 is expected to create a ripple effect on the Philippine economy, said Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries on Monday, April 8.
Fries said IKEA is in the process of hiring some 500 people for its first store at the SM Mall of Asia. (READ: Everything you need to know about IKEA's first PH store)
"In addition to that, they will need so much support in terms of suppliers, transportation, assembly, teams who can assemble the IKEA furniture for the buyers, security," Fries said.
At 65,000 square meters, IKEA's first store in Manila will also be its biggest store in the world.
WATCH: Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries says Ikea will boost local employment. “Once they have entered one country, they look at opening other stores in other parts of the country.” Ikea is set to open its 1st store in Manila in 2020. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/tJGbMrDxff — Ralf Rivas (@RalfRivas) April 8, 2019
The Swedish ambassador added that IKEA is likely to expand after it opens its first store in Manila.
"I know that IKEA, once they have entered one country, they look at opening other stores in other parts of the country. So this is a start, definitely a huge benefit to the Philippines," Fries said.
IKEA Southeast Asia will spend P7 billion for the first Philippine store.
The physical store was made possible through a partnership with Filipino business giant SM.
IKEA has been vague about whether it would source materials and furniture from local producers, but previously said it would "do its best" as a retailer to influence how products will be sourced.
IKEA is not the only major Swedish company interested in investing in the Philippines. (READ: Swedish firms bullish on Philippines, but frown on red tape)