Wal-Mart Stores Inc. confirmed plans Tuesday to expand its reach into southern India with its joint venture partner Bharti Enterprises.
The partnership will add between three and five new wholesale cash and carry operations by the end of 2012, according to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Megan Murphy,
The Walmart-Bharti venture already operates 17 wholesale stores throughout the country under the brand name “Best Price.”
Penetration into the lofty $450 billion retail market has been a slow go with regulatory hurdles and political restrictions that forbade foreign ownership by multinational retail chains.
A caveat in the rules allowed retailers like Wal-Mart to operate wholesale venues in partnership arrangements with other local companies.
Wal-Mart struck a deal to partner with Bharti which gave the Bentonville-based retailer immediate leverage because of Bharti’s reach and widely known brand among the local populations throughout India.
In December 2011, the Indian government loosened the rules to give foreign retailers a majority share of the venture partnerships they had already forged.
Wal-Mart has repeatedly expressed interest in scaling up its Indian presence in both brick and mortar and its digital venues.
San Bruno, Calif.-based @WalmartLabs is also ramping up its operations in Bangladore with plans to add 75 new tech jobs by December.
Jeremy King, chief technical officer of global e-commerce at Walmart.com, said the Bangladore office employs 125 at this time.