Wal-Mart Nation

The world's largest retailer isn't just buying--and selling--stuff in China. It has become a major force for change

Joe Hatfield is the quintessential Wal-Mart guy--a chain-smoking good ole boy from Baltimore who started as an assistant store manager and toy buyer in the American heartland nearly 30 years ago under the tutelage of Sam Walton. Today he is the missionary from Bentonville, Ark., bringing the Wal-Mart way to China. "I was blessed to work for Sam Walton," he says, "and I am doubly blessed to work in China." Walking through a brightly lighted store in Shenzhen, the boom town across the border from Hong Kong, Hatfield, who heads Wal-Mart's retail operations in China, can't disguise his delight over the--what else?--"everyday...

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