Monday June 25, 2007
Ikea set to open stores in Johor Baru, Penang and the Klang Valley
By FAZLEENA AZIZ
Ikea, one of the main sponsors of the Happy 50 Malaysia contest, is looking forward to the finale with much enthusiasm.
“We have partnered The Star on several occasions but this year's collaboration is particularly significant because it is Malaysia's 50th year of Independence,” said Ikea general manager Joseph Lau.
“It feels good to be able to contribute towards this grand celebration and we are more than excited with the many activities we have planned for the run-up to Merdeka, together with The Star.”
He said despite Ikea being a global brand, it acted locally – that it was always looking at giving something back to the community.
“Ikea's outlook is not about sales so much as it is about community outreach. We have participated in many events and we are constantly looking at how we can give something extra to our valued customers. And, Happy 50 Malaysia is just one the many ways we can show our appreciation,” said Lau.
Ikea's business is growing with the country's economy and Malaysians can look forward to more Ikea stores in Johor Baru and Penang, as well as another outlet in the Klang Valley, in the future.
“We have customers from Thailand and Indonesia, who come specifically to Ikea to buy things. So, we hope to grow, too, as the country grows – and we always adopt the attitude that, if Malaysia boleh, Ikea boleh,” added Lau.
An accountant by qualification, Lau joined Ikea as an operations manager in 1995 because he wanted to try his hand at management.
He added that the easy working culture within the company had led him to stay as long as he had.
“We address each other by first names, not ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. At Ikea, we really get down together for any event and we hope to transmit that same friendly culture to our customers.”
Lau said the Happy 50 Malaysia contest by The Star was a great way to learn about Malaysia.
Ikea will be furnishing the kitchen, dining room, master bedroom and living area of the prize house for the grand prize winner. An Ikea interior designer team has been assigned to decorate and furnish the house.
Home furnishing and vouchers worth a total of RM250,000 will be given away in the contest. More lucky draw prizes and gift vouchers will be given away during the Ikano Merdeka Celebration street party on Aug 30.
The street party will feature many local artistes, like Zainal Abidin, Reshmonu, Vince, Juwita Suwito, duo Jakeman and Skeletor, Serena C and Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based singer Fish Leong, taking centre stage.
“The road show held at Ikano has seen a 25 per cent increase in visitors and we feel that the contest has had a lot to do with it.
“We are happy, especially for a three-and-a-half-year-old mall, to be able to participate in this event. The response from the public is beyond expectations,” added Lau, who is also Ikano executive director.
The Happy 50 Malaysia finale will run from 3pm till 8pm while the concert will begin at 9pm and continue till midnight at Ikano Power Centre.
The Happy 50 Malaysia contest is organised by The Star. All contestants need do is to answer a question each week on a story published in Sunday Metro the week before.
Prize sponsors include Gamuda Land, Suzuki Malaysia (a member of DRB-Hicom), Ikea and Samsung. The venue sponsor is Ikano Power Centre.