Wal-Mart breaks into Shanghai

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Population, Beijing

Wal-Mart China has confirmed that it is opening up its first store
in Shanghai. The store is due to open up next year and the company
has confirmed that recruitment of staff has begun, reports Simon
Pitman.

"We have more than 20 mid-level management posts available, such as department managers and supervisors,"​ Wang Pei, vide president for Wal-Mart China, told reporters.

"We usually transfer personnel from our own company rather than recruit from outside, but to open a business in Shanghai, part of the management team should be recruited locally."

The move into Shanghai is crucial for the company, which has been rapidly expanding in all the major economic regions of the country in recent years.

Shanghai itself is one of the most densely populated and economically developed regions in China, but until now restrictions on establishing retail premises in the city and intense competition has prevented it from penetrating the leading metropolitan region.

Although Wang said that market domination was out of the company's reach in Shanghai, he said that the use of intensive discounting would be one of the main ways of attracting customers.

Although the exact location has not been revealed, an average urban store in China takes up 5,000 square metres and employs around 500 people - 20 per cent of whom are managers.

Last week Wal-Mart announced that it would allow union representation in all of its stores in China. The move came after the normally union-shy retailer came under pressure from Beijing to fulfil state laws insisting all companies operating provide staff with some sort of union representation.

Experts believe that the retailer made the move to fall in line with the government's wishes so as not to jeopordise its plans for further expansion in the country. However, the move is equally seen as a move to re-enforce the government's political muscle following the relaxation of all restrictions on foreign retailers operating in the country by the end of this year.Currently Wal-Mart has a turnover of $1.6 billion in China and, with 39 stores, it is the biggest international food and beverage retailer in the country.

Related topics: Business, East Asia, China

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