Communiqué # 6: There’s a distinct aroma at the entrance of the subterranean Wal-Mart store in downtown Wuhan, a sprawling city of 11 million on the Yangtze River in far-off central China.
A quick glance at the fish tanks near the meat department explains why.
Live frogs and turtles share a tank, marked at 16 yuan ($3.20) and 41 yuan ($8.20) a pound respectively.
Wal-Mart provides hand-held nets for their customers, who dip into the tanks and present their live catch at a counter.
Just like any Wal-Mart in America, the store crawls with boisterous children accompanying their parents shopping for their daily necessities.
The Chinese have little reason to resent the story behind the everyday low prices. They are the story. The $12 jeans and $25 slacks have Chinese tags that indicated the province, not the nation, of origin.
It’s clear that China, the world’s most populous nation, isn’t just an export platform for Wal-Mart. It’s a significantly growing market as well.
Minnesota retailers like Best Buy seem to understand this, which is why they’re showing no signs of retreating from China, even as the nation’s growth rate slows and its government stimulus program gradually phases out.
Surprisingly to some American visitors, the prices on the electronic merchandise seem on a par with Minneapolis or Chicago, the Midwestern commercial and transportation hubs to which Wuhan aspires. The city also sees itself as an inland river port, consciously inviting comparisons between the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers.
A DVD player goes for about $220 at the Wal-Mart in bustling downtown Wuhan, which also has KFC and Pizza Hut. A 32-inch flat screen TV sells for $460. American prices for up-and-coming middle-class Chinese consumers – who can also pick up a 450-gram packet of nummy jellyfish for 11 yuan ($2).
Star Tribune Recommends
More From Hot Dish Politics
The two sides are battling district by district in a race to secure the 68 seats needed for majority.
VP Joe Biden to visit Duluth Friday
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday formalized his request that legislative leaders move quickly in presenting him a plan to address rising premiums in the individual health insurance market.
President Obama throws support behind Angie Craig
Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said at a Monday news conference that a constituent had contacted her after receiving a voter registration form from MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange, even though the person in question is already registered to vote and does not purchase health insurance through MNsure.