China’s IKEA Sleepover

April 1, 2014

Zach Honig, a former editor at PC Magazine, writes a Blog called Tech, Travel and Tuna.

While in Beijing, Honig remembered a piece he read in the LA Times about Beijing residents loving IKEA but not for shopping. Curious, he visited the IKEA in Beijing and saw how popular IKEA is in a snoozy sort of way.

In fact, I sympathize with the Chinese snoozers.  Have you ever slept on a “hard” Chinese bed?


Love after the first bite.

Honig also mentioned that he ran into China’s Net Nanny since he couldn’t access his WordPress Blog, Twitter or Facebook, which includes anarchists scheming to bring down orderly societies. There is some truth to that.

Meanwhile, the IKEA snoozers have not slowed expansion plans in the Middle Kingdom since IKEA plans to increase the number of stores in China to 18 by 2015. The first store opened in 1977.

The current sixteen IKEA stores in China saw 15 million visitors in fiscal 2012 (or should I saw snoozers). IKEA also owns a 49% share of Inter Ikea Centre Group that builds shopping centers and is planning to spend billions to build more malls in China.


Bargains at IKEA Shanghai store

The BBC ran a piece about IKEA in China: Store or theme park? As one Chinese customer said, “Every time I come here, I stay for the whole day and have lunch here.

And “Products have also been redesigned with Chinese customers in mind – little things, like deepening bowls so they can hold rice,” the BBC reported. “Every store in China features mock-ups of the tiny apartments common in many Chinese cities, kitted out with Ikea products.”

Another factor is the Chinese save then pay cash for most of what they buy. It is estimated that Chinese households have accumulated $16.5 trillion (valued in US dollars) in assets.

Don’t forget to drop by Zach Honig’s Blog and see his photos of snoozing IKEA fans in Beijing. The link is at the top of this post.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


What do Shanghai’s IKEA and Cupid have in common?

June 19, 2012

IKEA seems to have been adopted by the Chinese. Back in November 2010, I wrote IKEA Sleepover in Beijing about IKEA’s Chinese fans that loved the place so much, it became a favorite spot to take a nap.

Recently, I discovered that IKEA in Shanghai is where retired, singles seek love while drinking free coffee.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the dating hot-spot for senior citizens who are out either looking for love or new friends, is none other than the Swedish furniture manufacturer.

Then in November 2011, NPR.org reported, “Twice a week, hundreds of Shanghai residents who have formed an informal lonely hearts club of sorts gather at the cafeteria of the Swedish furniture megastore for free coffee and conversation.

“The pensioners begin arriving around 1 in the afternoon and fill nearly 20 tables in the store cafeteria. They sit for hours drinking coffee, gossiping and subtly checking each other out.” If you click on NPR’s link above, you may listen to the story.

Global Post.com says, “Unlike bars or dance clubs, the atmosphere at IKEA is casual and non-threatening. It makes it easy for the seniors, who show up in groups of 70 to 700 people, to chat over a cup of coffee. And because IKEA serves free coffee to anybody carrying an IKEA Family membership card, some of the seniors don’t even have to pay for their cup. Zhou Hong works at IKEA as a card swiper, and she told The Wall Street Journal that on average, she hands out around 500 cups of coffee each time the seniors meet.”

However, IKEA isn’t the only one playing the role of a cupid in China. China’s postal service also plays cupid. Yahoo.com says, “Who would have thought that Beijing’s publicly run postal service would try to play cupid and save marriages from the “seven-year itch” (the critical point when, some say, a spouse’s eyes begin to wander)?”

But what about IKEA?  Is IKEA losing money giving away free coffee to help fill lonely hearts with caffeinated love?

According to the numbers, no.

In fact, IKEA is doing great. Three of its five largest stores are in China, and IKEA reported that in 2011, its net profits rose 10.3% to $3.85 billion with its biggest gains in Russia, China and Poland.

Maybe handing out free coffee to lonely seniors was a good idea.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Nap Time in China

February 5, 2012

Back in November 2010, I wrote about IKEA Sleepovers in Beijing. When I wrote that post about customers snoozing at IKEA’s Beijing store, I had no idea that napping was a custom in much of China. I thought it was because the beds at IKEA were more comfortable than the ones at home.  If you have ever slept on an average Chinese bed, you may know what I mean.

The reason I didn’t know this was because my wife does not take naps. However, my father-in-law, who is age 82, naps every afternoon, but I thought it was due to his age.

Then after more than a decade of marriage, I asked my wife if her father had always taken afternoon naps. She said yes and that even at work in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party bosses made everyone take a long nap after lunch—about two hours each day.

Deciding to learn more on this topic, I turned to Google. Middle Kingdom Life.com, says. “The Chinese, particularly those in the southern and south-eastern regions, take what could be called an afternoon siesta that lasts from approximately 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.”

I learned that afternoon naps in China are common, but that doesn’t mean everyone does it.  Using Google, I also learned that the Internet and the modern-urban lifestyle has cut into the old habit of napping.

In fact, micro-blogging in China has had an impact on this centuries old custom. MSNBC.com reported that the Chinese government “sensitive to public opinion, especially stories of lazy or corrupt bureaucrats carried by massively popular micro-blogging sites,” cracked down on napping at meetings in an attempt to “instill a greater sense of duty into its officials.”

If this trend continues, this might seriously impact public health, creativity and learning in China.

Han Fang, a professor at Peking University People’s Hospital, says, “Lack of sleep can cause a significant lowering of immunity…”

In addition, the New York Times reported, “New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.”

“Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn,” which may explain why “Most Chinese schools have a half-hour nap programmed straight after lunch.” Source: Wiki.answers.com

Then from the China Post, I discovered, “According to the advocates, a short 10-20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30 percent and alertness by 100 percent as well as improve memory and concentration. They also claim that it can reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34 percent.”

Maybe I should consider cultivating an afternoon nap.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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