US retail giant Wal-Mart says it plans to expand its retail and export operations in China in 2005, with up to 15 store openings and Chinese exports worth $18 billion anticipated, AFX News reported.

Wal-Mart, which last week reported first-quarter results below expectations, buys footwear, toys and seasonal merchandise from China, making it the company's 'largest export country', chief executive John Menzer was quoted as saying.

John Menzer said that Wal-Mart expected 12-15 store openings in China in 2005, but added that the nation was not really developed for chain stores and brands.