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Sun 1 Apr 2007 04:24 PM

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Wal-Mart acquires stake in China’s Trust-Mart

US retail giant Wal-Mart has acquired a 35% interest in Bounteous Company Ltd, a Chinese retailer that has more than 100 hypermarkets under the Trust-Mart banner in cities across China.

US retail giant Wal-Mart has acquired a 35% interest in Bounteous Company Ltd, a Chinese retailer that has more than 100 hypermarkets under the Trust-Mart banner in cities across China.

Wal-Mart, which entered the Chinese market in 1996, already operates 73 outlets, including 68 Wal-Mart Supercenters, across China. Trust-Mart stores will continue to operate under the Trust-Mart banner and both companies plan to continue opening more stores. Wal-Mart will acquire ownership control of Trust-Mart in the future, subject to certain conditions.

"Through this investment in Trust-Mart we have the opportunity to expand our presence in China, one of the world's fastest growing retail markets," said Michael Duke, vice chairman, Wal-Mart.

"This is an important step in bringing additional scale to our China retail business and enabling us to do what we do best - serving our customers with improved service, high quality and innovative products, and lower prices," he added.

Trust-Mart's chairman, John Yu added: "This alliance positions Trust-Mart to offer even higher levels of customer service to Trust-Mart's loyal customers as we benefit from Wal-Mart's expertise in logistics and operations.

"It also will give our suppliers new opportunities to expand in China and potentially become part of Wal-Mart's global vendor network."

Trust-Mart, one of the leading hypermarkets in China, opened its first store in 1996 and has a strong market position in several key urban markets, including Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen and Shanghai.

In other developments, Wal-Mart is also planning to establish a presence in India, where it is expected to trade under three different banners when it opens its first stores in the country, in partnership with Bharti, according to reports in the Indian press.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club outlets in the USA.

The company operates in countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan and the UK.

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