China's General Chamber of Commerce says reports of Carrefour leaving the country are groundless. (Photo/Xinhua)
The China General Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday dismissed reports about French retail chain Carrefour planning to pull out of the country and said the reports were aimed at tarnishing China's image.
A statement issued by chamber said the reports were false and were only aimed at projecting China in a bad light by hinting at its deteriorating investment environment, especially at a time when the local economy is slowing down and the European debt crisis is worsening.
The sections of media that had carried these reports had not even contacted the enterprises they covered before concluding that Carrefour would quit China, the statement said.
On the contrary, the chamber said, Carrefour China vice-president Dai Wei recently expressed the company's determination to pursue long-term development in China.
However, Dai conceded that these reports had impacted its operations and development.
Rumors have been brewing since late August about the proposed acquisition of Carrefour by US retail giant Walmart and local enterprises including China Resources, and the state-run China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation.
The rumors followed a Ministry of Commerce report that said the number of new offices set up by foreign enterprises in the first seven months of this year had dropped 12.3% compared with the same period last year. Sportswear giant Adidas decided to close its only authorized factory in China in July. Nike likewise made a similar move.
According to Beijing News, the rumors might be the outcome of Carrefour's decisions in the past few years to halt its operations in several places around the world.
Since 2006, Carrefour has exited South Korea, Russia, Japan and other markets. In June, it announced its plan to withdraw from Greece, followed by similar announcements for its stores in Singapore.
Data showed that Carrefour no longer dominated the Chinese retail sector and its market share had been taken over by Walmart, Sun Art Retail Group, RT-Mart and other Chinese local retailers.