Carrefour, the second largest mass retailer in the world, has expanded its presence in the Asia Pacific region and competing head-on with Wal-Mart and other Western and Asian mass retailers to capture a significant position in the region. The case retraces the historical development of the expansion, starting with an entry into Taiwan in the late 1980’s.
By 2004, Wal-Mart, the world's largest company, operated countless discount stores, neighborhood stores, hypermarkets (Wal-Mart Supercenters) and membership warehouses (Sam's Club). In the 1990s, Wal-Mart started to expand abroad, entering entered China in 1996, Korea in 1997, and Japan in 2002.
The case describes the boom and bust of sales of French wine, especially expensive Bordeaux wines, in Asia. The unstructured and fragmented markets of developing Asia offer opportunities for tailor-made, branded products. However, such entry may be too early. In Japan, bulk imported French wine is already successfully marketed by Japanese companies under their names.