German-based retailing giant Metro plans to invest US$300m to open 40 new stores in 12 Chinese cities, Business Weekly said. As a first step in the plan, Metro will open seven stores next year, in Beijing, Xiamen, Fujian province, and Xian, Shaanxi province. So far, Metro has invested US$150m in China and has opened 16 stores.
Other foreign retailers are also expanding their operations. French-based Carrefour has announced plans to open 10 stores a year in China over the next few years, while USbased Wal-Mart intends to open three stores in Beijing in 2003. Charoen Pokphand Group of Thailand plans to spend about US$650m in three years opening 100 Lotus Superstores across the country, China Daily said. The stores, selling food and household goods, will employ about 30,000 workers. The group, working through its Chia Tai unit, now runs 11 stores in China, including four in Shanghai.
Chinese chains are also expanding. Lianhua Group, China's largest retailer, plans to invest Yn10bn to open 8,000 chain stores across China before 2008. The second largest operator, Hualian Group, hopes to open 5,000 stores within the next three years.