Carrefour has teamed up with local retailer The Beijing Shoulian Group to take its Dia hard discount format to China. The new joint venture will allow Carrefour to expand the format quickly in and around Beijing and some northern cities, said a spokesman. The first stores will probably not open until next year, but after that, progress will be rapid, he added. "We are looking at 500 stores within four to five years." Details are still being finalised, but Dia stores in China will probably look very similar to those in South America, Turkey and Spain, stocking between 1,600 to 2,000 lines in stores between 3,300 and 5,400 sq ft. While rival Wal-Mart has almost doubled its estate in China this year, opening eight new Supercentres to take its store total to 19, Carrefour has not opened a single new store for 12 months. German giant Metro also opened seven new stores last year in and around Shanghai, taking its total to 15 stores. However, hypermarket openings will recommence this year now that Carrefour has resolved its dispute with regulators over its rapid expansion without central approval from authorities in Beijing, said the spokesman. {{NEWS }}