Open-and-shut case

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When Costco opened its first location in China in late August, it had to shut its doors a few hours later: The company was swamped with visitors, some waiting three hours to get into the parking lot.

The first day, some 139,000 people signed up for a membership card, Costco told investors during a Goldman Sachs conference call. The company had previously said it plans to open a second store in the next two years, but the overwhelming success won’t push it to develop more quickly, the company told investors.

Sam’s Club has been in China for two decades and has about two dozen stores. It also plans to open more in the coming year.

Both are proof that the rising middle class in China provides a major market opportunity — even for bulk goods. And no tariff will get in the way of that.

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