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Wal-Mart Expands E-Commerce Footprint in China

Wal-Mart Stores is increasing its investment in Yihaodian, an e-commerce website in China. The deal will bring Walmart's total ownership stake to approximately 51 percent. Launched in July 2008, Yihaodian offers more than 180,000 SKUs and has achieved a significant presence in online grocery sales, as well as in categories such as baby/mom, consumer electronics and apparel.

Wal-Mart has been rapidly building out its e-commerce bona fides. Most recently it acquired Small Society, a company that develops apps for smart phones.  It is also working on an experimental social network for in-store shoppers, Internet Retailer reported last year.

Consumers would be able to use their mobile phones to interact with other shoppers currently at the store, asking questions and giving opinions on products and deals.  Wal-Mart has also tightened its ties with Facebook rolling out a tailored page for each of its more than 3,500 locations will have its own tailored Facebook page.

The partnership is said to be the first of its kind for a retailer.

Wal-Mart Style Analytics

Much of this activity is based on Wal-Mart's push to develop its own analytics capabilities. Last year it acquired Kosmix, the developer of Tweetbeat Firsthand–a plug-in that scans the Internet for references to prominent people or organizations that have Twitter accounts and then provides readers of those pages with their latest tweets.

Wal-mart bought the social media company specifically to use its analytical expertise in the @WalmartLabs unit.

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