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Business

Metro to up Chinese Stake to 90 Percent

German retail and distribution giant Metro AG will up its stake in its China joint venture with Jinjiang International Group to 90 percent from its current 60 percent, state press reported Thursday. Metro, the world's fifth largest retailer, declined to disclose the value of the deal approved by the Ministry of Commerce and the local authorities, the Shanghai Daily said. "Since the Chinese government has scrapped stake holding restrictions for foreign retailers to operate businesses in the country, Metro sees it as a good chance to accelerate its expansion in China," said Huang Zhongjie, a Metro China executive. As part of commitments made to the World Trade Organization, China since 2004 has allowed foreign retailers to set up wholly-owned units with no restrictions on the number of outlets or locations. Previously, foreign retailers could only hold a 65 percent stake in any venture with a local partner. Huang added that it was also an opportunity for Jinjiang, China's largest hotel operator, to restructure core assets. "For Jinjiang, it also capitalises on this opportunity to shift its capital to its core business like hotels and tourism," he said. Metro operates 24 stores in China and plans to open about 30 more outlets as part of its expansion plan, the newspaper added.

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