Sam’s Club opens its largest flagship store in Shanghai, showing confidence in China market
Published: Sep 26, 2021 05:13 PM

Sam's Club flagship store in Shanghai  Photo: Courtesy of Sam's Club

Sam's Club flagship store in Shanghai  Photo: Courtesy of Sam's Club

Sam's Club, the high-end membership outlet of US-based retailer Walmart, said on Sunday that it has opened its first flagship club in Shanghai, which is now the largest Sam's Club in the world. 

It's another example of how the Chinese market is indispensable for US enterprises especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the diplomatic tensions between the two nations, Chinese analysts told the Global Times.

The flagship outlet of 70,000 square meters includes the Sam's outlet with the largest single-story area in the country, as well as a rental area covering catering, entertainment and everyday essentials.

Many view the move as a sign of the company's confidence in the Chinese market.

Apart from the new flagship store, the brand will also look to set up more stores in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province and Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, and it anticipates that there will be 40-45 stores nationwide either operational or under construction at the end of 2022.

US retailing giants have been in full swing opening stores in China in recent years, with news reports confirming another retail giant Costco is in preparation to launch a new outlet in Suzhou, a mega business city in East China's Jiangsu Province.

Costco opened its first store in the Chinese mainland in August 2019 in Shanghai, and it has attracted huge crowds of shoppers since the opening. Less than two years later, it has been weighing up several projects in cities including Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

Despite heightened tensions affecting China-US relations and the US' hastening push toward decoupling from China, China's expanding consumer market remains attractive to many US businesses.

The recently opened Universal Beijing Resort, which has drawn excited tourists from across the nation, also signaled that US firms are betting on the increasingly vibrant Chinese consumer market.

The US enterprises and financial institutions remain optimistic about China's market development and will not be affected by the ongoing political tensions, Tian Yun, former vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Tian emphasized that US enterprises do not have a second choice for investment at the moment besides China, especially for US-listed enterprises, if they aim to improve their financial performance and stock price, since China's domestic consumer market is comparable to the size of the US' while China's economy has recovered robustly after containing the pandemic.

A report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai on Thursday showed that 70 percent of US companies operating in China expect revenue growth in the market to outpace their worldwide growth over the next three to five years.

American businesses in China bounced back quickly from the COVID-19 induced shutdown in 2020, and most companies are optimistic about profits and investing more to take advantage of China's anticipated economic growth, the report said.

China-US trade grew 36.6 percent from January to August compared with the corresponding period last year, Chinese customs said recently. 

Trade between China and the US has remained normal despite tensions, which have started heading in a positive direction since the second half of 2020, said Tian, noting that bilateral trade has the potential to hit a record high in 2021, with an estimation of surpassing $700 billion.  

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