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Carrefour SA, the world's second-largest retailer, plans to open 70 discount stores in Beijing and Shanghai by the end of the year, utilizing local partnerships to fend off advances being made by other foreign competitors such as Wal-Mart.

Carrefour currently operates 36 hypermarkets in 20 Chinese cities and plans to open 15 more of that format this year alone.

The International Herald Tribune reports that Carrefour's plans were made well before the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which has been traced to parts of Asia.
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