Wal-Mart in line for online success in groceries
Bemused as we were to read this list of 16 items you can only buy at Chinese Wal-mart stores, of greater interest is MOFCOM’s recent decision to clear Wal-Mart’s acquisition of a controlling stake in China’s largest online supermarket, Yihaodian.
The proposed acquisition of the 33.6% stake in Niu Hai Holdings, which would give Wal-Mart a controlling stake in Yihaodian, was notified to the Ministry of Commerce in December 2011. MOFCOM’s analysis concluded that competition in the relevant market – the B2C online retail market in China – would be enhanced by Wal-Mart’s participation.
The acquisition was of particular importance to Wal-Mart as in China, direct online sales are restricted industries for foreign investment purposes. However, the approval came at a price – with conditions imposed on Wal-Mart that restricted the acquisition to the direct sales business of Yihaodian (and not its online platform business).
For more detail on MOFCOM’s 12 August 2012 decision, see the post on our China Law Insight blog, and read this article from The Atlantic about how Wal-Mart is changing shopping in China by imposing green standards on suppliers.