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Costco to open first Chinese store despite failure of other international retailers

Ann Schmidt

Costco is opening its first store in China this week, even as other international retailers have struggled to succeed in the country.

The retail giant will open its store Tuesday in a suburban area of Shanghai, AFP reported. Richard Zhang, Costco's senior vice president for Asia, told the outlet that the warehouse hopes to sign up at least 100,000 new members.

Other international retailers haven’t moved quickly enough to do well in the Chinese market including French retailer Carrefour and German wholesaler Metro, according to the outlet.

However, Zhang told AFP that Costco was careful to make sure Chinese consumers knew the brand. Zhang also suggested it could help that Sam’s Club -- another membership-based warehouse -- has been in China for more than 20 years.

"Chinese consumers are ready to pay for a membership card that grants them an exclusive privilege to buy at a warehouse store, it's not a new concept in the country," Zhang told AFP. "A mature market saves us efforts in educating customers."

Zhang did tell the outlet there are concerns over tariffs and the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Already, Zhang said, some U.S. importers have been replaced with Australian importers.

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On Monday, President Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and said trade talks will restart after a report indicated that China was willing to return to the negotiating table.

“Great respect for the fact that President Xi & his Representatives want ‘calm resolution,’” Trump tweeted. “So impressed that they are willing to come out & state the facts so accurately. This is why he is a great leader & representing a great country. Talks are continuing!”

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