business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports on how Wal-Mart has become an enormous force in Latin America. The company’s Mexican subsidiary “is not only the biggest private employer in Mexico -- it's the biggest single retailer in Latin America.” And, far from being seen as the onerous behemoth that it sometimes appears to be in the US and elsewhere, Walmex is perceived as a counterweight to the few companies that traditionally have controlled commerce there. It pays comparatively good wages, and makes more products affordable to more people.

“Like Wal-Mart fans in less affluent parts of America,” the Journal writes, “most shoppers in developing countries are much more concerned about the cost of medicine and microwaves than the cultural incursions of a multinational corporation.”

• Wal-Mart said last week that it doesn’t expect any regulatory challenges to its 35 percent investment in China’s Trust-Mart, which operates 101 stores in 34 cities there. Asked about future growth possibilities in China, Wal-Mart China director of public relations Jonathon Dong said, “All options remain on the table.”
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