The US-based Wal-Mart, the world's largest chain store retailer, has moved its global purchasing center from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, a city in south China's Guangdong Province.
The Shenzhen Economic Daily quoted Wal-Mart sources as saying that the company expects to have 44 branches in China by the end of 2003.
Wal-Mart is also planning to set up five branches in the Chinese capital Beijing in the next five years. The five branches,including three shopping plazas and two members-only stores calledSam's Club, will cost 25 million US dollars including 6.5 million of foreign capital.
Wal-Mart first entered the Chinese market in 1996 when it openedits first Sam's Club member store and shopping plaza in Shenzhen, a special economic zone neighboring Hong Kong.
So far, there are 20 Wal-Mart branches in China, seven of them in Shenzhen. Last year, Wal-Mart purchased 10 billion US dollars worth of China-made products to sell in its outlets around the world.