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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Wal-Mart aims to increase holding in online retailer

By Tang Zhihao (China Daily)

10:36, February 21, 2012

An advertisement for the online retailer Yihaodian in Shanghai. Wal-Mart Stores Inc is waiting for approval from Chinese regulators to increase its stake in Yihaodian to 51 percent. (Photo/China Daily)

SHANGHAI - The US retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc is looking to acquire a controlling interest in Yihaodian, a Chinese online retailer.

The move is aimed at boosting Wal-Mart's online sales in the Chinese market and maintaining its competitiveness in the country's e-commerce sector.

In a statement, Wal-Mart said it plans to increase its holding in Yihaodian to 51 percent. The US retailer said the move is awaiting approval from the Chinese regulatory authorities.

In a telephone interview with China Daily, Yu Gang, chairman and founder of Yihaodian said the increase in Wal-Mart's stake will not result in significant changes in personnel. Neither company revealed any financial details about the move.

Yu also denied that Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China, one of Yihaodian's major shareholders, will sell its entire stake to Wal-Mart. It has long been rumored that the insurer was seeking to sell its 60 percent stake in Yihaodian to Wal-Mart.

Yu said the Yihaodian brand will remain a separate unit and independent in China.

Yihaodian is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce business operators in China. Its sales revenue reached 2.7 billion yuan ($429 million) in 2011, increasing from 4.17 million yuan in 2008. In 2010, Ping An acquired an 80 percent share of Yihaodian, valued at 80 million yuan.

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