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Retail giant Wal-Mart opens in India

The world's number one retailer Wal-Mart opened its first sales venture in India on Saturday as part of an ambitious plan to establish a foothold in the country's vast consumer market.

The US discount chain has teamed up with Bharti Enterprises, parent of India's biggest mobile firm Bharti Airtel, in a wholesale joint venture to be called Best Price Modern Wholesale.

"We have put in a lot of planning and preparation over the past 12 months and are delighted all the hard work will now bear fruit as we open the doors of our first cash-and-carry store in India," said Wal-Mart India head Raj Jain.

The opening of Wal-Mart's first "big box" outlet in Amritsar city in the wheat-bowl northern state of Punjab, is a high-stakes one for the US retailer, which has been expanding internationally to grow its revenues.

"India is first of all a country with close to 1.2 billion people and a strongly growing economy which is driven by personal consumption," said Jain.

"There's a need to start out on a learning curve with the Indian consumer and this is the first significant step in that direction," he said.

AFP

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