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Wal-Mart donate research center for Tsinghua
Updated: 2004-11-04 00:32

The US retail giant Wal-Mart invested one million US dollars to establish China's first retail research center at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University.

The move came just days after China's trade union authority threatened to blacklist Wal-Mart for refusing to establish union branches. "It intended to improve the company's public image," said Wednesday's Beijing News.

 Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., attended the ceremony held in Tsinghua University Tuesday but he said nothing about the "trade union issue" despite reporters' swarming requests during the ceremony, said the newspaper.

Last week, officials with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) said they will blacklist and possibly sue foreign companies that are reluctant to set up trade unions in their China facilities. Wal-Mart, Dell, Kodak, Samsung and some KFC and McDonald's restaurants were among the companies ACFTU mentioned.

China will lift major restrictions on foreign investment in its retail sector on Dec. 11. More foreign companies will be able to have presence in cities around China, including some small ones.

 Lee said Wal-Mart will continue to seek Chinese partners and enhance co-operation as it always does, adding that lifting restrictions will not change the company's China business strategy.

He said the biggest pressure Wal-Mart will face will probably come from local companies, not foreign giants.

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