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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Global supermarkets conquer China in its first 10 years as WTO member


09:10, December 09, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a decade ago opened the floodgates to foreign investment in a variety of areas, but the retailing sector is surely the most potent symbol of how foreign businesses have come, competed and conquered on the levelling field.

The days have long gone when neighborhood shop keepers would man their counters, ready to dispense to customers whatever their little shops would hold, and when buyers had to go to separate places for groceries, electronics and other products.

The landing of supermarkets, with their open shelves, abundant variety and lower prices, changed everything, transforming the way people shop in China. To see supermarkets' appeal as China marks the 10th anniversary of its accession to the WTO, observers need only look at the growth of French-based chain Carrefour. Just days ago, it celebrated the opening of its 200th store in China.

"Going to supermarkets is becoming our first choice for shopping, especially for food and daily necessities," confirmed one shopper, 40-year-old Beijinger Zhang Ling.

The retailing sector was among the first areas in which China loosened its grip and welcomed foreign businesses upon entry into the WTO, when it allowed the forming of joint ventures in five special economic zones and several other cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Wuhan.

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