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By Mike Caggeso
The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Inc. (WMT), is set to get much bigger, as the Arkansas-based company recently won government approval to open its 100th store in China.
Wal-Mart currently has 94 stores open in China, with 24 of them opening this year alone. Its first China store opened in coastal city Shenzhen in 1996.
"President Hu has often talked of the need to increase Chinese consumption as a means to address a bilateral trade imbalance and to shift China's economy away from focusing primarily on exports. U.S. companies like Wal-Mart offer a wide variety of highly competitive consumer products," CCTV quoted U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez saying at a news conference Monday.
If you think Wal-Mart does well in the United States, costs to ship many foreign-made products are fractioned, if not eliminated in China. The retailer buys about $18 billion worth of goods from Chinese factories, China Daily reports.
And that formula is multiplied when China's fast-growing economy and ravenous consumer base are factored in. All totaled, the company forecasts more than 30% annual growth in China.
India is a different story though. There, Wal-Mart shares a small piece of the $350 billion retail industry, with growth there initially stunted by political concerns and protests even before opening its first store there, Reuters reported.
Still, on a global level, no other retailer can compete with Wal-Mart's prices, size and global reach. The company currently has stores in: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
Its international locations accounted for 22.3% of its net sales in 2006, a 30.2% increase from the prior year.
News and Related Story Links:
- China Daily:
Wal-Mart aims higher in China