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    Wal-Mart Aims to Open Beijing Store by 2003

    BEIJING - A Wal-Mart executive said today the company hopes to open its first store in Beijing late next year or early in 2003, The Associated Press reported.

    BEIJING - A Wal-Mart executive said today the company hopes to open its first store in Beijing late next year or early in 2003, The Associated Press reported.

    Beijing's government announced on Wednesday that Wal-Mart has been granted approval to open five stores in the Chinese capital. That allows the company to begin negotiating property agreements and to find Chinese partners before seeking business licenses.

    Reuters reported that the store is a Sam's Club in Shijingshan, a western suburb, and that Wal-Mart would set up another Sam's Club and three supercentres in Beijing over the next few years. The cost of all five is estimated to be $25 million.

    Wal-Mart, which entered China five years ago, now operates 12 supercentres and three Sam's Clubs in China.

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