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Wal-Mart to acquire China retail chain in a billion-dollar deal

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay about US$1 billion to take over Chinese chain Bounteous Co. Ltd. The acquisition will be done in phases by 2010.

Wal-Mart is buying 35 per cent of Taiwan-based Bounteous, which operates 101 hypermarkets in 34 Chinese cities under the Trust-Mart brand, and will acquire ownership control of the chain by 2010 if conditions are met.

In a statement, Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Michael Duke described the China investment as “an important step in bringing our additional scale to our China retail business.”

Currently, Wal-Mart operates 73 stores in the US$ one trillion retail market of China and employs more than 37,000 people there.

France-based Carrefour, the world’s No.2 retailer, is the largest foreign operator in China, where it had 90 stores at the end of 2006. Other foreign players include Germany’s Metro AG and Britain’s Tesco Plc.

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