According to an article in the China Daily a long while back The Great Wall-Mart, if it were an individual economy, would rank as China’s eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada. The chain, about near market saturation levels in the U.S., needs China in order to grow. But, they are still working out the cultural bugs a bit: According to Newsweek: “Wal-Mart offended Chinese consumers by trying to sell them dead fish, as well as meat packaged in Styrofoam and cellophane. Shoppers turned up their noses at what they saw as old merchandise. So Wal-Mart began displaying the meat uncovered, installed fish tanks and began selling live tortoises for turtle soup. Sales soared. “Between the fish and the turtles,” says a German Investment banker, “it feels more like you’ve walked into the pet department of a U.S. Wal-Mart.” Wall-Mart has also had its woes in the U.S. recently with the sales of sexually explicit Asian cartoon anime. Over 70% of products sold in Wall-Mart are made in China, but the porn is from Japan. If you think the American religious right is hot about it, you don’t know the Chinese.!: Japanese “funny” funnies would create a double whammy for Chinese shoppers who love cheap prices, but are conservative about sex and still defusing Japanese ordnance from WWII. JAPANESE PORN I get a kick out of Wall-Mart here. You would not recognize it if the signs did not give it away. They have captured 9% of China’s retail market with distinctly Chinese offerings like the MUST have (something I wrote about this time last year): LUCKY PANTS! PROFESSOR LUCKY PANTS That particular entry had me listed #1 on Google for months as Professor Lucky Pants. They are actually “Ben Ming Nian”, or Lucky Zodiac Undies. They are a must for anyone who is celebrating their birth year in China. Coming up is the year of the pig and is for those born on any pig year anniversary (12 year cycle) before now: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, and 1995. You are supposed to have a healthy supply of these every twelve years and WEAR THEM EVERY DAY (pray that they are color fast fabrics) and they will protect you from ill fortune. Thanks to dear Ar-Yang I had a relatively safe and auspicious year! Now if you look closely at the picture above you will see that there is a Chinese symbol on them. It is actually “GOOD LUCK” written upside down. It literally means: ” GOOD LUCK is coming” (I heard that!)!! We can only hope. I came across a couple of great stories while researching this post: One mistranslation for a popular Christmas movie changed “You will get a pink slip for Christmas” to “You will get red underpants from Santa Claus.” Thanks to the translator’s error, Chinese viewers envision the hero in a pair of red underpants, not as getting fired at Christmas. But, I digress… I am heading shopping this weekend for some essentials, but with no wall-Mart near me I will have to settle for the French version, Carrefour. So, “Long Live the Republic of Wall-Mart” and its ability to socially adapt to national spending habits regardless of race, color, creed or….

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