Deal set to raise retailer
Wal-Mart is set to trump rivals Carrefour and Tesco by paying US$1 billion (£537.1 million) for a chain of 100 hypermarkets in China.

News reports have suggested that the world's largest retailer will buy the chain - which posted sales of US$1.42 billion (£762.7 million) last year - from Trust-Mart, a Taiwanese company.

The deal - initially for 31 stores - would eventually take Wal-Mart's number of stores in China to 160 and would boost its annual sales to smash the US$2 billion (£1.07 billion) barrier. Last year, Wal-Mart's turnover was US$764 million (£410.4 million).

It is understood that both Carrefour and Tesco had been examining the Trust-Mart stores, but Wal-Mart moved first, driven by its target of generating 33 per cent of sales from foreign markets - up from the existing 20 per cent.

Wal-Mart declined to comment on the reports.

Meanwhile, China's largest trade union has called on all foreign companies operating in the country to establish trade union branches.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) has made the call after Wal-Mart agreed to set up unions in its stores throughout China.

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