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IKEA (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd) is a privately held, international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories. The company is now the world's largest furniture retailer.[2]

IKEA was founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden, named as an acronym comprising the initials of the founder's name (Ingvar Kamprad), the farm where he grew up (Elmtaryd), and his home parish (Agunnaryd, in Småland, South Sweden).[3]

The groups of companies that form IKEA are all controlled by INGKA Holding B.V., a Dutch corporation, which in turn is controlled by a tax-exempt, not-for-profit Dutch foundation.[4] The intellectual property of IKEA is controlled by a series of obscure corporations that can be traced to the Netherlands Antilles.[5]

INGKA Holding B.V. owns the industrial group Swedwood, which sources the manufacturing of IKEA furniture, the sales companies that run IKEA stores, as well as purchasing and supply functions, and IKEA of Sweden, which is responsible for the design and development of products in the IKEA range. INGKA Holding B.V. is wholly owned by Stichting INGKA Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation registered in Leiden, Netherlands. The logistics center Europe is located in Dortmund, Germany and Asian Logistic center is located in Singapore along with its IT base.

Inter IKEA Systems B.V. in Delft, also in the Netherlands, owns the IKEA concept and trademark, and there is a franchising agreement with every IKEA store in the world. The IKEA Group is the biggest franchisee of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. Inter IKEA Systems B.V. is not owned by INGKA Holding B.V., but by Inter IKEA Holding S.A. registered in Luxembourg, which in turn is part of Inter IKEA Holding registered in the Netherlands Antilles. The ownership of the holding companies has not been disclosed.[5]

The company which was originated in Småland, Sweden, distributes its products through its retail outlets. As of October 2010, the chain has 313 stores in 38 countries, most of them in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. The IKEA Group itself owns 276 stores in 25 countries and the other 37 stores are owned and run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group in 16 countries/territories.[6] 2006 saw the opening of 16 new stores. A total of at least 15 openings or relocations are planned for 2010.[7]

In some languages (such as Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, German, Greek, Spanish and Korean), "IKEA" is pronounced something like [iˈke.a][citation needed], but in English it is /aɪˈkiː.ə/, similar to the word "idea." As such, IKEA brought action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia successfully preventing a competitor in Victoria from using the name "Idea."[citation needed] Its Chinese name is "宜家" (yíjiā), which literally means "fit for home" in written Chinese and sounds like the phrase "right now" in Cantonese pronunciation.

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