The notification for the Wal-Mart/Yihaodian transaction was submitted to China's Ministry of Commerce on 16 December 2011. It was ultimately accepted on 16 February 2012 by MOFCOM after supplementation. At the expiration of the Phase III, or extended Phase II, period, on 13 August 2012, MOFCOM issued its decision granting conditional approval of the transaction. The transaction itself, and therefore the conditions imposed, is opaque, in significant part because of the opacity and legal ambiguity of the Variable Interest Entity (VIE) structure involved in the control of Yihaodian. VIE structures are common in China to bypass restrictions on foreign investment. Until 2010, China required licenses for any foreign company selling its own products directly online. Licenses are still
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce approves the merger of a supermarket chainstore and an e-commerce platform (Wal-Mart / Yihaodian)
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