Wal-Mart, which amongst other interests owns Asda in the United Kingdom, has announced that the Chinese government has finally given it approval to buy a majority stake in the country’s leading online retail company, Yihaodian.Yihaodian is a driving force in China’s ecommerce sector, which is growing at an extremely fast pace despite the fact that the Eurozone debt crisis has led to a slowdown in the rest of the Chinese economy. 210 million Chinese shop online and the value of online shopping transactions in China experienced a 51.6% YOY leap in the second quarter of 2012, coming to a grand total of 268.4 billion yuan (that’s roughly 26 billion GBP).This news is impressive mainly because the Chinese ecommerce market was very recently highly under-developed. Very few Chinese shoppers had access to credit cards and as a result just 4 years ago in 2008, only 2% of total Chinese sales were made online.
However, this has jumped to 7% this year, putting China on a par with the US – and, as ever with the Chinese economy, those in the know are predicting that it will surpass this level very soon. This has been helped by the fact that retailers have slashed their delivery charges, so it’s no surprise that Wal-Mart has been itching to get into such a profitable market.
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