Wal-Mart and the Yuan Debate 1.Why is the value of the yuan so important?
Wal-Mart’s business strategy relies on low production costs which it can pass on to its customers. If Wal-Mart were a country then it would be China’s eighth largest trading partner ahead of Russia, Australia, and Canada. Wal-Mart’s non-Chinese owned suppliers operating in China number nearly 5,000 and all of them benefit from a low valued yuan compared to the dollar. The 176 million worldwide customers of Wal-Mart also benefit from the low valued yuan. With nearly 70% of Wal-Mart’s products coming from China a sharp increase in the value of the yuan against the dollar can be devastating for the company as the increased costs for Wal-Mart and would most likely passed on to customers. It could also hurt American customers whom Wal-Mart claims it saves the average household roughly $2,500 dollars every year. 2.If you were the CEO of Wal-Mart and were preparing for a meeting with the most vocal members of the US Congress on China’s currency “manipulation”, what would you say to them? I would point out that while it may be politically easy to blame China especially when it comes to an uniformed electorate, the rise in costs associated with policies aimed at encouraging China to lets its yuan to appreciate against the dollar will do harm in other ways. Average Americans (also known as voters) will feel an appreciated yuan in their wallets. China may be an easy target, but the higher costs American consumers pay due to policies pursued by members of congress is another hot topic that potential voters will respond to. Finally increased costs means Wal-Mart will have to take actions to keep profits up to keep shareholders happy. This may mean cutting workforce which in this current economic environment where so many Americans are looking for work would not be a good thing. I would also point out that China’s...
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