When you think of online shopping, Wal-Mart
The deal should be welcome news for Wal-Mart shareholders as the company searches for new revenue streams. Wal-Mart, which has more than 350 physical stores open in China, hopes to capitalize on the country’s growing e-commerce industry. With China’s population soaring to 1.3 billion people, 173 million of whom are already shopping online, an increasing number of American retailers are making inroads to China. Even U.S. e-tailer Amazon.com
In 2008, Amazon purchased Joyo, China’s largest retailer of books and media for $75 million. Today, Amazon may be the world’s biggest online retailer, but its market share in China is smaller than many of the country’s other business-to-consumer sites. Wal-Mart’s arrangement with Yihaodian will put it in direct competition with Amazon in the Chinese market. (Although, as far as U.S. e-commerce is concerned, Amazon is the clear leader.)
Smart strategy, difficult market
Wal-Mart’s play to grow its online presence in China comes at a time when the retailer is struggling to keep up with competitors on the home front. New format and branding strategies from rivals such as Target
Target’s recent partnership with top-selling electronics brand Apple
Obvious advantages exist for retailers expanding into the fastest-growing market in the world, but that goes double for the risks. Daily deal site Groupon
Wal-Mart should have better luck in the tough market given that its new partner, Yihaodian, is one of the fastest-growing companies in China. The company currently runs logistics operations in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu -- areas in which its 5,400-strong workforce makes same-day and next-day deliveries to customers. A network of established logistics and a clear understanding of Chinese culture should play to Wal-Mart’s advantage as it attempts to be the Amazon.com of China.
U.S. companies face a steep learning curve as they attempt to control the retail environment in China. The country’s growing retail market is driving billions in foreign investment. But it isn’t always easy knowing which companies will thrive and which ones won’t survive. For that reason, I encourage you to read The Motley Fool’s updated free report titled "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." This free guide will show you how to tap into three U.S. stocks that are quickly becoming leaders in emerging markets. Click here for instant access to the special report -- it’s free.