Wal-Mart Stores, the retail umbrella company that owns ASDA, has announced plans to take a 51 per cent majority stake in Yihaodian, a China based e-commerce website.

Yihadian launched in mid-2008 and sells over 150,000 grocery, apparel and electronics products to the Chinese market through its website.

Wal-Mart has said that it views China's online retail industry as a key growth sector for the region, where its consumers are "already connected to the world through smartphones and social media".

"We are on track to create the next generation of e-Commerce, offering the latest in online innovations to give our customers a unique shopping experience," said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Global eCommerce.

"Our further investment in Yihaodian demonstrates that we are committed to investing in China in a key growth industry and developing all that goes with it," he added.

Yihaodian CEO, Junling Liu, has said that the move from Wal-Mart will mean "more than an investment of funds" and will require the retail giant to "share its knowledge and technology", allowing the China based company to sell its products at lower prices.

Although an agreement has been reached between Wal-Mart and Yihaodian, the closing of the transaction is still subject to Chinese government regulatory approval.

Boston Consulting Group research, titled 'The World's Next E-Commerce Superpower', suggests that China's e-commerce market has the potential to be bigger than the US' by 2015, where spending could reach RMB 2 trillion (£200 billion).