Home News Carrefour hypermarket opens in China

Carrefour hypermarket opens in China

Published on 17/02/2004

URUMQI, China, Feb 17 (AFP) - French retail giant Carrefour Tuesday opened its first hypermarket in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, bringing a hotly contested retail marketing battle to an area along China's legendary Silk Road.

The opening in the regional capital of Urumqi will be followed by further branches in Beijing and Shanghai and marks the relaunch of Carrefour’s expansion in China that has been waylaid by official efforts to curb its inroads into the country.

Carrefour had been rapped for opening shops in China without the approval of central authorities or a local partner.

The chain, however, has now complied with a Chinese law forbidding foreign companies from holding a stake of more than 65 percent in retail joint ventures in China.

“We are the first foreign distribution company in China to completely restructure,” Jean-Luc Chereau, the president of Carrefour China told journalists.

“This has allowed us to relaunch our expansion with the agreement of the local and national authorities.”

Located near the famed “Grand Bazaar” in Urumqi’s Muslim quarter, the new store is Carrefour’s 42nd retail outlet in China and the first of up to 12 new shops to be opened in the country this year, he said.

“We hope to open our hypermarkets roughly at the rate of one per month in China,” Chereau said.

Tuesday’s opening in Urumqi, situated some 3,000 kilometres (1,800 miles) west of Beijing, also marks the opening of the first Western retail supermarket in the predominatly Uighur Muslim city of some two million inhabitants.

Carrefour has been engaged in heated competition with Chinese domestic firms and Western firms like Wal-Mart and Metro to carve out market share in China’s fast changing retail and distribution sectors.

Despite Tuesday’s opening, Chereau said Carrefour would continue to focus its expansion plans on China’s prosperous east coast and was also planning to open in China a chain of Champion stores and its Dia discount stores.


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