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Wal-Mart takes controlling stake of Chinese site

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[February 21, 2012]  BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to buy a controlling interest in the fast-growing Chinese online retailer Yihaodian.

HardwareThe big-box chain operator has agreed to increase its stake in Yihaodian's holding company to approximately 51 percent, Wal-Mart said late Sunday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It still must be approved by Chinese government regulators.

Yihaodian has been in business for less than four years. Yet it already sells more than 180,000 products, ranging from groceries to electronics to clothing. It has 5,400 employees and a next-day delivery network across Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu.

Wal-Mart eCommerce executive Neil Ashe said the deal improves Wal-Mart's access to Chinese consumers who increasingly use smartphones and social media to shop.

"Our further investment in Yihaodian demonstrates that we are committed to investing in China in a key growth industry and developing all that goes with it: logistics, infrastructure, innovative talent and new technologies that will help China meet its development goals," said Ashe, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Global eCommerce.

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Yihaodian co-founder and chairman Gang Yu said Wal-Mart's carefully managed supply chain will make the Chinese firm more efficient.

Wal-Mart operates more than 10,000 retail stores under 69 different names in 28 countries.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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