• Carrefour has opened its 20th Beijing outlet, which is now its largest store in Asia.

Carrefour has opened its 20th Beijing outlet, which is now its largest store in Asia. (Photo : Stony Brook)

Carrefour SA, a French retailer, recently opened its largest store in Asia in the Chinese capital, Beijing. The unveiling comes as the firm aims to cash in on the increasing demand for imported food from medium- and high-end consumers.

The two-story hypermarket is located on the North Fourth Ring Road, adjacent to the sprawling facility of Swedish furnishing retailer Ikea. It houses over 80 stores, including Uniqlo, Decathlon and the first-ever Baidu Concept Store.

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The Carrefour Beijing outlet, which is spread over an area of 71,380 square meters, offers more than 40,000 products, 15 percent of which are imported items.

Serving as the French retailer's 20th store in the city, the hypermarket also has 800 free parking spaces, 15 electric charging stations for shuttle buses, and five underground charging stations for electric cars.

"We are focusing on imported food products as there has been a sea change in the food preferences of Chinese consumer," Laurent Olszewski, regional manager for the North-West China region at Carrefour, said. "It is quite different from what I saw when I first came to China in 1995."

"Chinese consumers want to try everything," he added, citing imported French salt and Australian beef as examples.

Olszewski also shared that Carrefour is expanding its e-commerce business in 2016. The firm will focus on its Web-based services by January next year after finishing their work on their Tianjin-based logistics center.

According to experts, this move of Carrefour is a way to gain more consumers belonging to the high-income class.