Over half of Lotte outlets on temporary shutdown in China

March 8, 2017

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) — Lotte Group said Wednesday more than half of its hypermarket chains operating in China have been forced to shut down temporarily, adding to woes that Beijing’s reprisal against Seoul over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system is intensifying.

The number of Lotte Mart stores facing business suspension stands at 55 as of 4:00 p.m., adding another 16 to the 39 outlets previously orderd to stop running, according to Lotte.

That accounts for more than half of 99 stores it is currently running in Asia’s largest economy. Since first tapping the market in 1994, Lotte has set up some 120 stores and 24 subsidiaries with a workforce of about 20,000.

The additional suspension on Lotte’s hypermarkets is seen as Beijing’s firm determination to hamper Korean businesses based in China as an act of retaliation against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) led by Seoul and Washington.

On Tuesday, the militaries of the two allies said part of the THAAD system arrived in South Korea, reaffirming their plan to complete the stationing within the year as scheduled.

China lashed out at Seoul for pushing ahead with the installation of the anti-missile battery through its state media channels, warning that it will undermine the regional security in East Asia.

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