Since I've been here in Sweden, I've noticed that businesses are spread far apart. Cities are positioned like American cities, where there will be a big city surrounded by smaller suburbs, but the distance between a big city and a suburb is much farther out then I have experienced in Minnesota.
In Italy, there really aren't any big cities, just small cities scattered throughout Italy, and in China, it seemed like the city was everywhere... because Shanghai is amazingly large, and between in and other cities, the empty space is filled with impoverished, dense, residential areas.
Sweden is alot more like Minnesota, but it certainly feels more like northern Minnesota, where you have to drive 30 minutes to get to civilization. Unlike Italy, Sweden has a lot of established retailer brands that exist in shopping centers much like those that exist in Minnesota. An anchor store connected to a bunch of smaller retailers.
Some of the larger retailers are IKEA (furniture store, invented in Sweden, also popular in the USA), ICO (Grocery Store), and the Systembolaget (Government Controlled Liquor Store).
Types of Businesses in Sweden
There are companies (bolag) and associations (förengar), but as for businesses I will be looking at, I will stick to companies (bolag)
There are Non-trading Partnerships, Trading Partnerships, limited partnerships, and companies limited by share.
enkelt bolag : The simplest form of company is a private, non-trading company. Liability is owned by the owners, not the company.
handelsbolag : A trading partnership that is different from an enkelt bolag in that the handelsbolag is a seperate legal entity and therefore has its own rights and obligations. It is formed by 2 or more individuals or companies reaching an agreement to jointly own the business. Although the assets and liabilities belong to the handelsbolag, the owners are liable for all debt and obligations incurred.
kommanditbolag : A limited, trading partnership where one or more partners have limited their liability to the amount they have invested in the business. a limited partner may actively partake in the management of the company, provided it is allowed in the partnership agreement.
aktiebolag : A company that has no personal liability, Aktiebolag is not limited by shares. Aktiebolag is the predominant form of business organization in Sweden, and the number is steadily increasing. Foreign companies usually form their subsidiaries with aktiebolag.
This overview on businesses types in Sweden comes from "Setting up a business in Sweden" by Rolf Skog.
Skog, Rolf. Setting Up A Business In Sweden. Stockholm: Huristförlaget, 1994. Print.