At Chinese Wal-Mart, Gators On Ice & Live Frogs

China may be known for both its exotic, if not eccentric, flavors and its economic power. In a series of emails floating around the internets, China’s Wal-Mart is seen as part of the Australian interior, part of the Mos Eisley Cantina, a tattoo bar in a galaxy far, far away.

Who doesn’t like a kick in the fresh, frozen meat of crocodile and pig snouts, heh?

Like Wal-Mart shops in other parts of the world, locals add their own color. Whatever they do, it seems to be working. Wal-Mart’s competition in Brazil has hurt French supermarket giant Carrefour. In China, Wal-Mart has nearly doubled in size in three years.

The strategy is similar in China to the rest of the world. In China, it targets third and fourth tier cities, both new and future, but also lower income compared to major coastal and port cities. The company has more than 350 stores in China, with 95,000 employees, compared to 70 stores and 30,000 employees in 2007.

Ed Chan, CEO of Wal-Mart China, told local press last week that China accounts for less than 10% of Wal-Mart’s international sales during a given quarter, but “may one day be the largest” global retail market for the company.

“We have been growing with the Chinese retail industry for the past 15 years and we are very satisfied with our performance,” he told The China Daily. “Since 2007, Wal-Mart China has maintained double-digit growth.”

“I think lower-tier cities will see economic development faster than first-tier cities. Therefore, Walmart China will increase its investment in lower-level cities, ” Chan told China Daily.Chan said the company wants to focus on middle-and low-income cities in China, unlike Brazil, where Wal-Mart Stores are located in wealthy cities like São Paulo and middle-class neighborhoods. So far, an estimated 80% of Wal-Mart China’s stores are in second, third or fourth-tier cities rather than major hot spots like Beijing and Shanghai, according to the company.

The retailer plans to establish supermarkets and Sam’s Clubs, a grocery shopping service open to members, in lower-tier cities across the interior of the country. Apparently that’s one of the places where frogs and turtles enjoy.

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