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China: Macy's Plots Chinese Entry While Home Depot Retreats


Apple and ConocoPhillips also in China news.

Speaking at the US-China Oil & Gas Industry Forum in San Antonio, Texas, Mark Nelson, ConocoPhillips's vice president of commercial and sustainable development, confirmed that his company is "looking into expanding into shale" in China, the Wall Street Journal reports.

China's Ministry of Land and Resources announced on Monday its second shale gas tender, with 20 blocks up for offer. For the first time, foreign companies can join in the bidding process through joint ventures with Chinese companies. Previously, companies like Shell had struck deals with Chinese firms to develop shale assets outside the tender process.

China has plenty of shale resources but does not produce shale gas commercially. As such, it is partnering with foreign oil and gas outfits and making use of their expertise and know-how to get shale production off the ground. The Chinese have an ambitious target of producing 229.5 billion cubic feet a year of shale by 2015, which analysts believe is unrealistic given the infrastructure problems the burgeoning industry faces.

Baidu (BIDU): Chinese search giant Baidu is launching its own mobile browser to compete against giants like Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome and default Android browser in the fast-growing Chinese mobile Internet market.

Baidu's general manager of mobile and cloud computing, Li Mingyuan, said last week that according to internal tests, the company's browser runs 20% faster than those of its rivals. Baidu's target is to have its mobile browser downloaded by 80% of Android devices by the end of 2012.

For now, Baidu is concentrating on developing products for the mobile Internet market, as advertising clients are also still in the midst of developing mobile-friendly websites. However, the search company it hopes that its mobile browser will eventually become a strong revenue generator.

Home Depot (HD): It appears Chinese homemakers are not big fans of Home Depot's D-I-Y approach. The world's largest home improvement chain announced Friday that it will shutter all seven of its big box stores in China, shedding 850 jobs in the process.

Home Depot will instead refocus on online and specialty stores. It has opened two specialty stores in Tianjin and is also planning partnerships with Chinese e-commerce websites.

"China is a do-it-for-me market, not a do-it-yourself market, so we have to adjust," Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake told Reuters.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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