Walmart store in Shenzhen is closing, sparking broad discussion among Chinese
Published: Nov 23, 2021 05:36 PM
A Walmart store in Chongqing. Photo: IC

A Walmart store in Chongqing. Photo: IC

The US supermarket chain Walmart is closing its first store in the Chinese mainland at the end of November, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the company's entering the market.

The closure of the store in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, reached the top of the hot search list of China's social media platform Sina Weibo on Tuesday, with many netizens saying they are disappointed by the news.

Many netizens said that the store, which opened in 1996, reflected many of their childhood memory, and they would miss it after it was gone.

"The reason for the closure is because the owner of the property wants to renovate and upgrade the property as a whole," a source with Walmart China told the Global Times on Tuesday. The person played down the event, saying that it is normal for retail industry to open and close stores.

The counters in the shopping malls have hung up clearance and closing down signs in the store, local media reported. Some brand counter staff told media that the closure will be completed at the end of the month.

This came just Sam's Club, the high-end membership outlet of Walmart, opened its first flagship club in Shanghai in September, which is now the largest Sam's Club in the world.

While the news has captured broad attention on Tuesday, some netizens and media have also tried to uncover the actual reason behind the closure.

One netizen said that the 25-year-old store has exited it lease, "does it have anything to do with not being able to catch up the rapid development pace of e-commerce?" said the netizen. 

"Many retail stores have closed doors…it must be very difficult for physical stores these days, not to mention the huge competition from e-commerce," another netizen named Cai-N Yan said.

While China's huge market is providing businesses with many opportunities, the fast development of the domestic retail market has posed unprecedented competition for retail brands.
From 2016 to 2020, Walmart China has closed more than 80 stores, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the company's disclosure in September, Walmart had a total of 34 stores across the Chinese mainland, and it anticipated that there would be 40-45 stores nationwide either operational or under construction by the end of 2022.