Posts tagged ‘Walmart’

05/08/2016

Bridge Collapse Is Latest Tragedy on India’s Roads – India Real Time – WSJ

The collapse of a bridge in the western Indian state of Maharashtra this week that left 14 people dead and 18 others missing wasn’t the first road tragedy to hit the area.In 2013, a bus veered off a 80 year-old bridge on the Jagbudi river, which flows parallel to the Savitri about 70 kilometers (43 miles) to the south, killing 37 of the 52 people on board.

That accident happened when a bus flew off the bridge and flipped in midair before landing on its roof 30 feet below.

The Wall Street Journal took a deep look into the tragedy.

Such incidents are alarmingly frequent on India’s roads.

India has been spending more money to improve its bridges, ports and airports, but the Savitri accident is yet another example of how the country’s depleted infrastructure is under increasing strain due to the rising demands of a fast-developing economy.

Its ageing road network, the world’s second-largest after the U.S. but largely made of dirt tracks, is particularly challenging. India’s roads are the most dangerous in the world: In 2015, the country accounted for almost one in 10 road casualties world-wide, according to the World Health Organization.

While India reported 137,000 deaths due to road crashes in 2013, the WHO estimated the figure was much higher. Those deaths cause an approximate 3% loss in economic output, it said.

Two buses and a number of cars plunged into the Savitri river in the early hours of Wednesday when the bridge in Mahad, built before India gained independence from Britain in 1947, crumbled into the waters below amid heavy monsoon rains.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a judicial probe into the accident and said government technicians will carry out a safety audit of old bridges in the state.

The bodies of 14 people were recovered from the waters of the Savitri by Friday morning, and 18 more are missing, National Disaster Response Force Commandant Anupam Srivastava said.

Source: Bridge Collapse Is Latest Tragedy on India’s Roads – India Real Time – WSJ

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25/07/2016

More Than 100 Chinese Firms on Global Fortune 500, but Not Alibaba – China Real Time Report – WSJ

More than 100 Chinese companies made the Fortune Global 500 list this year, with the U.S. the only country with more names on the list.

China power giant State Grid jumped from seventh place last year to the No. 2 spot, after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., followed by oil giants China National Petroleum Corp. and Sinopec Group, in third and fourth place, respectively.

Dubbed “the world’s most profitable lender,” Industrial & Commercial Bank of China–China’s biggest bank by assets–was No. 15 on the list, up from 18th last year even after a year of nearly flat profit.

Among the 13 Chinese companies that made their debuts on the list were three home builders: China Vanke Co.(356th), Dalian Wanda Group (385th) and Evergrande Real Estate Group (496th), which all benefited from the property-market recovery in China last year after the government loosened restrictions on home purchases.

Ranked at 366th, China’s second-largest online retailer, JD.com Inc., also entered the list for the first time.

One notable absence: China’s perhaps most famous company, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which as an online platform doesn’t have massive revenue, the basis for the list’s rankings.Investors and analysts have focused on a different metric to chart its growth — gross merchandise volume, or the total value of third-party sellers’ transactions on its platforms — because it shows how fast an e-commerce company is growing relative to competitors.

Earlier this year, Alibaba said that transaction volume on its sites hit 3 trillion yuan ($463 billion) in the fiscal year ended in March, which it said meant that by that measure it had overtaken Wal-Mart to become the world’s biggest retail network.

Source: More Than 100 Chinese Firms on Global Fortune 500, but Not Alibaba – China Real Time Report – WSJ

15/11/2015

In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Yale Zhang, the head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight, called the export of the Buick Envision SUV from China to the U.S. a “landmark.”

“It means that China’s manufacturing quality has met the requirements of the world’s strictest market,” he said.

GM introduced the Buick Envision SUV in China last October. Since then, it has been one of the best-selling cars sold by GM in the country. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a government-backed industry group, the Envision ranked seventh in China’s fast-growing SUV market in October, with monthly sales of 17,300 vehicles. Data from Automotive Foresight show that sales of Buick Envision SUVs totaled 100,826 cars in the period from January to September.

Despite the progress, experts say that Chinese home-grown car manufacturers will continue struggling to compete with foreign brands, even in China.

China is already the world’s largest market for cars in terms of sales and production. But global auto makers have been slow to ship Chinese vehicles to the U.S. and Europe on worries that Western buyers would shun them over quality concerns. European car maker Volvo Car Corp., which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., was the first to challenge that assumption when it started shipping sedans from a plant in China to the U.S. this spring. A Volvo China spokesman declined to disclose how many Chinese-made Volvos have been shipped to the U.S., saying only that it is a “small volume.”

A study released by automotive industry consultants J.D. Power in October shows that although Chinese car makers have been improving in quality in recent years, they still lag behind international brands in producing reliable vehicles. According to the study, Chinese brands had 120 problems for every 100 vehicles this year, compared with 131 in 2014 and 155 in 2013. International brands had 98 problems for every 100 vehicles in 2015.

“Buick is a household brand in the U.S.,” said Ms. Li from Deren Electronic. “American consumers are probably not aware that the car is made in China. But Chinese local  auto brands, like Chery and Geely, are little known outside of China.” Victor Yang, a spokesman for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said that as a global player, it’s normal for GM to sell its China-made cars at home in the U.S. “All the cars made by foreign companies in China should be produced in line with their global standards,” Mr. Yang said.

“Geely aims to sell its cars to developed markets including the U.S. By doing so, our quality and technology will be well recognized,” he said, without specifying a time frame. Jin Yibo, a vice president for Chery Automobile, said that Chinese home-grown auto makers “will absolutely go to the U.S. and other developed markets to sell their cars.”

But he cautioned: “It will take time.”

Source: In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

26/10/2014

Wal-Mart Struggles to Crack Retail Market in India – Businessweek

As Indians celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali, executives at Wal-Mart India don’t have much reason to cheer. The company is still waiting for its big breakthrough in India, a market it has been trying to crack at least since 2007. That’s when the American retailer teamed up with one of the top businessmen in the country, Sunil Mittal, to open wholesale stores in India. If all had gone well, that partnership with Bharti Enterprises was supposed to have led to consumer-facing stores, too.

A Wal-Mart store on the outskirts of Chandigarh, Punjab, India, on June 10

When then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012 eased restrictions on foreign ownership in retail, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) executives saw an opportunity in the world’s second-largest country. In September 2012, a Wal-Mart executive told Bloomberg News the two sides were in talks and retail stores were less than two years away.

Those discussions didn’t end well. Wal-Mart and Bharti Enterprises went their separate ways last year, dissolving the joint venture in October 2013. Wal-Mart bought out Bharti and took full control of the 20 members-only, cash-and-carry stores in India. After that, the company largely kept its India plans on hold: It’s been two years since Wal-Mart added new wholesale stores in India.

via Wal-Mart Struggles to Crack Retail Market in India – Businessweek.

15/08/2014

Online sites shake up hidebound retailing in India – Businessweek

Finding a way into India’s vast but vexing market has long frustrated foreign retailers. Now, overseas investors are pouring billions of dollars into e-commerce ventures that are circumventing the barriers holding back retail powers such as Wal-Mart and Ikea.

Some investors see India as the world’s next big e-commerce opportunity, with the upcoming mammoth public stock offering of Chinese online giant Alibaba hinting at the potential.

Online shopping is still in its infancy in India at $2.3 billion of an overall $421 billion retail market in 2013, according to research firm Crisil. But it is growing fast and the potential of reaching a mostly untapped market of 1.2 billion people has sparked a funding-and-expansion arms race.

Flipkart, a Bangalore-based company founded in 2007 by two former Amazon employees, last month announced it had raised $1 billion in mostly foreign capital after building its registered users to 22 million.

A day later, Amazon raised the stakes with founder Jeff Bezos saying the company would pour $2 billion into developing its India business.

Snapdeal.com, another Indian e-commerce contender, has raised at least $234 million in the past year, and recently local media have reported that Rajan Tata of India’s Tata Group conglomerate is considering a personal investment in the company.

via Online sites shake up hidebound retailing in India – Businessweek.

23/05/2014

Wal-Mart to open 110 stores in China as part of $100 million expansion bringing 19,000 jobs to world’s second-largest economy | Mail Online

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has announced plans to accelerate its expansion into China by adding as many as 110 stores over the next three years, resulting in an almost $100 million investment.

Re-adjustment: Wal-Mart Stores Inc is changing its approach, closing some big-box stores that never quite caught on with locals

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based firm wants to open the new stores in the world’s second-largest economy at the same time as closing 30 under-performing outlets over the next 18 months.

China is key to Wal-Mart’s international ambitions but it has stumbled in a market where consumers value safe and authentic food over the low prices for which the retailer is known.

The U.S. retailer, which operates about 400 units in China, said last October that it would open up to 110 facilities in the country between 2014 and 2016 and was looking to close 15-30 others over the next 18 months as part of a rationalization process in the country.

Its local rival, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd, said in March it would continue to maintain steady new store expansion after China’s top hypermarket operator posted a 15.2 percent rise in 2013 net profit with an expanding store network helping it shrug off an economic slowdown.

‘China presents one of the biggest opportunities for us around the world to grow our stores and clubs, so its really important,’ Doug McMillon, president of Wal-Mart’s international business, said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Wal-Mart already has 400 outlets across China and Wal-Mart is looking to develop a larger presence in the country’s largest center’s while building bigger stores in third- and fourth-tier cities.

via Wal-Mart to open 110 stores in China as part of $100 million expansion bringing 19,000 jobs to world’s second-largest economy | Mail Online.

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11/05/2014

Fired from Walmart, Mrs Wang is now gunning for China’s state labor union | Reuters

When Wang Yafang was fired from her job at a Walmart in southern China in July 2011 for dishonesty, she refused to sign the termination papers and even showed up at work the next day – only to be sent away.

Wang, 38, then sued Walmart Shen Guo Tou Stores Inc, a Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) subsidiary, for wrongful termination, and beat the world’s largest retailer in arbitration and twice in court, winning 48,636 yuan ($7,800) in damages.

Now, she’s aiming at an even bigger target: the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

All-China Federation of Trade Unions

All-China Federation of Trade Unions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the three decades since China began reforming its economy, its giant state labor union – with upwards of 280 million members – has sat on the sidelines, rarely intervening on behalf of workers in disputes.

In a bid to help change that, Wang, backed by lawyers who have handled some of China’s highest-profile labor cases, decided to sue the union branch at the Walmart in Shenzhen where she worked for nine years. Unlike the few previous attempts by workers to sue grassroots union branches, courts have heard Wang’s case.

Wang and her team argue that the union endorsed the assessment of her as “dishonest” when she was fired and in doing so damaged her reputation. She wants an apology. The union branch has denied the charges.

Beneath the surface, Wang and her lawyers are leveling a more serious accusation – one echoed by many Chinese workers – that the ACFTU is failing in its role as the protector of worker rights and interests.

The landmark case highlights shifting labor relations in China, where workers increasingly know their rights and are seizing opportunities to challenge the status quo, often in court. Independent unions are banned in China, and the ACFTU is coming under unprecedented pressure to adapt.

Two courts in Shenzhen have already heard Wang’s case since she filed the suit last July, and have ruled against her. This month or next, her lawyers plan to launch a final appeal with the Guangdong superior people’s court.

“Either way, if she wins or loses, it is already extremely meaningful that this case has been brought to trial,” said Shi Zhigang, a former union boss from Nanjing who now acts as a collective bargaining adviser to local union branches.

“It’s an amazing development that the courts have even accepted the case and are using Chinese law to make an assessment and evaluation of the union.”

via Fired from Walmart, Mrs Wang is now gunning for China’s state labor union | Reuters.

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14/01/2014

Kejriwal’s Foreign Shop Ban is Bad for Delhi – India Real Time – WSJ

Delhi’s decision to block foreign supermarkets in the capital–one of the few markets that matter in India–is bad for the city and for the country, some analysts said Tuesday.

As India looks to attract more foreign investment, New Delhi’s flip flop on accepting foreign investment in multi-brand retail in the capital sends the wrong signal, the analysts said.

“Delhi is one of the key metro markets, keeping it out of reach of retailers may significantly reduce the attractiveness of an India investment for any major retailer,” said Deep Mukherjee, a director at ratings agency Fitch. “This uncertainty with respect to change of guard at the state level will always be a problem for any long-term investor in the retail space.”

The new Aam Aadmi Party-led government in New Delhi this week asked the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to remove Delhi’s name from the list of cities which allow multi-brand retail stores. Multi-brand retail is Indian bureaucratic speak for retail stores that carry more than one brand, such as supermarkets.

Big global brands used to only be able enter India through franchises, wholesale stores or single-brand stores, such as clothing shops. That kept out big supermarkets such as those run by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Last year India opened the retail sector to allow foreign retailers to own up to 51% in local supermarkets. It asked the state governments to make the final decisions on allowing multi-brand stores.

Since then, eleven of the country’s 22 states–including Delhi–decided to allow multi-brand retail outlets.

Last month, however, the Aam Aadmi, or common man, Party, took control of Delhi in state elections after promising it would block foreign investment in retail, concerned it would hurt the mom and pop stores that dominate the sector.

Keeping foreign funds and expertise out of the sector will hurt consumers and delay the modernization of India’s outdated supply chains, said some industry groups.

via Kejriwal’s Foreign Shop Ban is Bad for Delhi – India Real Time – WSJ.

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24/10/2013

Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the world\’s biggest retailer, is expanding its China business as it seeks to raise profitability in a slowing retail sector.

Wal-Mart Stores Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke attends a news conference in Beijing, October 24, 2013. REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon

Wal-Mart will open up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016, in addition to the 30 it has already opened this year, it said at a press event in Beijing on Thursday.

Wal-Mart has closed 11 stores and is looking to close 15-30 others over the next 18 months, said Greg Foran, chief executive of Wal-Mart China, in what he called part of a rationalization process.

The U.S. company is tackling tough global economic conditions and a fundamental change in China\’s retail sector, as annual sales growth slows and consumers move towards shopping online.

Wal-Mart wants to profit from China\’s changing retail landscape by embracing e-commerce, which is expected to record 32 percent composite annual growth between 2012 and 2015, according to Bain & Co.

via Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters.

05/05/2013

* ‘Speed money’ puts the brakes on India’s retail growth

Reuters: “Hong-Kong entrepreneur Ramesh Tainwala spent 18 months operating branded clothing retail stores in India before deciding it was impossible to succeed without paying bribes.

Customers exit a V-Mart retail store in New Delhi April 6, 2013. Picture taken April 6, 2013. REUTERS-Adnan Abidi

Tainwala, a 55-year-old expatriate Indian, owns Planet Retail, which held the India franchise rights for U.S. fashion labels Guess and Nautica as well as UK retailers Next and Debenhams. He sold the brands last September to various Indian businesses.

“Right now it’s not possible to do business in India without greasing palms, without paying bribes,” said Tainwala, who is also luggage maker Samsonite’s president for Asia Pacific and West Asia. Tainwala said he himself refused to pay bribes to licensing officials, though that could not be independently confirmed.

India is the next great frontier for global retailers, a $500 billion market growing at 20 percent a year. For now, small shops dominate the sector. Giants from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to IKEA AB have struggled merely for the right to enter, which they finally won last year.

But a daunting array of permits – more than 40 are required for a typical supermarket selling a range of products – force retailers to pay so-called “speed money” through middlemen or local partners to set up shop.

In interviews with middlemen and several retailers, Reuters found the official cost for key licenses is typically accompanied by significant expenses in the form of bribes. The added cost erodes profitability in an industry where margins tend to be razor-thin. It also creates risk for companies by making them complicit in activity that, while commonplace in India and other emerging markets, is nonetheless illegal.

That creates a handicap for foreign operators such as U.S.-based Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, and Britain’s Tesco Plc and Marks and Spencer Plc, which must comply with anti-bribery laws in their home countries even while operating abroad.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the company is strengthening its compliance programs, part of a global compliance review that has cost more than $35 million over the last 18 months. IKEA, which is awaiting final approval to enter India, has started assessing the market, a spokeswoman said, adding the group has “zero tolerance” for corruption in any form.”

via Insight: ‘Speed money’ puts the brakes on India’s retail growth | Reuters.

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