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Wal-Mart to Enter Hong Kong : Retailing: The discount chain takes on an Asian partner. New stores are to be opened this year.

From Bloomberg Business News

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced a joint venture with Ek Chor Distribution System Co. under which it will operate discount stores and warehouse membership clubs in Hong Kong and China.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based discount retailer said the deal will enable it to open perhaps as many as four Value Club stores in Hong Kong this fall. Value Clubs are scaled-down versions of Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Clubs.

Ek Chor Distribution is a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, the largest agricultural and industrial company in Asia and a major foreign investor in China.

Bob L. Martin, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart’s international division, noted that the company will be expanding outside the Western Hemisphere for the first time. “This and other recent expansions into new markets are part of an ongoing strategy for the long-term growth of our company,” he said.

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Earlier this year, Wal-Mart purchased 122 stores in Canada from Woolworth Corp. and announced expansions into Argentina and Brazil. It also has stores and clubs in Mexico, through a joint venture with CIFRA SA.

Wal-Mart did not say how many stores it plans to establish in Asia or give definite opening dates.

It said the new outlets will be similar in concept than those in North America.


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