Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has become the latest US-based company to face scrutiny over its handling of business involving Xinjiang, following the passage of a US law that virtually bans all imports from the northwestern Chinese region over forced labor and human rights concerns.
Walmart attracted anger on Chinese social media after internet users shared comments that purported to show that Walmart had stopped stocking products from Xinjiang in their China-based Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. Some even went to cancelling their Sam’s Club membership, while social-media accounts run by Communist Party-backed entities weighed in to criticise the company.
Earlier, US-based companies in the semiconductor and fashion line also face criticisms for the similar move to stop sourcing from Xinjiang.
Chinese social media channels are often not as organic as their overseas peers, as authorities and technology firms curate and heavily censor domestic online contents.
China is a key market of Walmart’s international expansion strategy, as the retail giant seeks to streamline operations to focus on e-commerce. China hosts more than 434 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. China is Walmart’s 2nd largest international market after Mexico.