An increasing number of Argentine people can now buy daily necessities from stores owned by Chinese businessmen as they have extended their operations to smaller cities in the Latin American country, local media reported Wednesday.

These businesses sold more than 4 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods in 2008 and the Chinese businessmen “already control more than 5 percent of all the food and drink business in the country,” local media quoted Yolanda Duran, president of the Chamber of Development in Argentina and Southeast Asia (Cedeapsa), as saying.

According to the latest figures, the total number of stores, supermarkets, kiosks and other retailing businesses owned by Chinese reached 150,000 in the country, Duran said.

About 40 percent of these Chinese businesses are based in the capital city of Buenos Aires, he said, adding that other favorite cities include San Salvador, Resistencia, Salta and Corrientes.

Despite the rapid expansion of Chinese stores in 2008, sales volume registered a drop of 20 percent as the global financial crisis has been claiming its toll.

“The drop started to be felt since July and we do not see this to be accompanied by a clients deviation to bigger chains, but what we see is a general contraction on demands as people are more careful now about spending,” Duran said.

Source: Xinhua