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(Aug. 16, 2001) BEIJING -- U.S.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc has opened its biggest store in Asia and its 13th in China in Dalian, a port in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The world's biggest retailer made its Chinese debut in Shenzhen in 1996. The 20,500-square-meter Wal-Mart Supercentre Huanan Store -- the second to open in Dalian since April -- also contains the city's biggest seafood market.

According to an AC Nielsen survey this month, Chinese consumers prefer big one-stop supermarkets and would spend twice as much as they do in smaller supermarkets. The research, conducted last March in seven major cities, found 87% of 6,000 respondents say they've been to big supermarkets such as Wal-Mart for food and 60% bought articles of everyday use.

Separately, Wal-Mart is planning to open a procurement center in Bangalore, India, that will annually export merchandise worth $105 million to its retail operations around the world. Products include home furnishings, furniture, handicrafts and toys.

The move follows the company's decision to cease sourcing merchandise from Hong Kong-based Pacific Resources Export.

Wal-Mart sourced $200 million worth of goods from India last year. -- From our Beijing correspondent and Ritesh Gupta in Delhi

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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