Ikea has started work on its first store in India, in the southern city of Hyderabad. Due to open by the end of 2017, the Swedish furniture chain is hoping to overcome the challenges that have quashed other international companies entering this market, writes Shilpa Kannan, BBC reports.


Men and women wearing hard hats and bright yellow shirts are standing in a line, shovels in hand. As they dig the earth on the count of three, the crowd cheers on wildly.


While the beginning of the building work is a big accomplishment for the flat-pack furniture specialists, it's a bigger victory for India.


Bringing international retail experience to India has been among the most controversial and fiercely opposed decisions here.


To be part of the $600bn (£460bn) Indian retail market, Ikea has pledged to invest over $1.5bn (£1.2bn) in India over the next 10 years.


While other global retailers like Wal-Mart and French hypermarket chain Carrefour hit a wall here and abandoned plans, Ikea is building a symbolic stone wall on its new 13-acre plot of land in Hyderabad.


As people queue up to sign their names on the rocks, the retailer says it is a long-term relationship with the country: while the company will bring its global products here, it also wants to see what would best suit Indian homes.


Photo: BBC

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