Wal-Mart and Carrefour are ramping up their operations in China as Beijing relaxes rules to allow foreign players to expand in the country. Months after Carrefour was rapped over the knuckles by the government for failing to obtain permission for new stores from central government, Beijing has given the French giant permission to set up five new buying centres. According to local press reports, the centres will enable Carrefour to source $3bn of goods in China by 2003, a threefold increase over current figures. Carrefour has 27 stores in China and hopes to open 12 stores annually for the foreseeable future. Rival Wal-Mart is opening four new stores in China this month. {{NEWS }}