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After China, Walmart Will Now Conquer India

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If you’re an Indian working here in the US who, upon returning home for a visit, thinks, "Man, I wish there was a Walmart in India," you’re set for a holiday season surprise.
After years of resistance, the world’s second most populous country is set to open its doors to foreign supermarket chains. The Hindustan Times reports that the Indian cabinet will likely give the go ahead for international “multi-brand” retailers like Walmart, Tesco, and Costco to own up to 51% of Indian stores that sell more than one brand.
At the present moment, the likes of Walmart and Carrefour can only invest in franchise partners or wholesale operations that do not sell directly to the public.
Presumably, the Indian government has considered the pros and cons of allowing foreign competition into the country. India’s grocery needs have traditionally been met by small, local "mom and pop" operations known as kirana stores, which will undoubtedly be outcompeted in terms of pricing.

However, the bill to allow Walmart, Tesco, and other foreign giants to enter will likely come with requirements that these chains invest a minimum of $100 million and that they source for products locally. (There's Whole Food's point of entry right there.)
India represents unlimited growth potential for big-box retailers. Walmart will surely hope that it will be able to gain a foothold in the South Asian nation the way it did in China, where it opened its first store in 1996 and now has nearly 200 retail locations.

If the chain does take off in India, then Indians visiting or repatriating from America don’t have to fret when they miss Uncle Sam -- they can always just head to their local Walmart.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.