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Walgreens to buy 40-per-cent stake in Chinese pharmacy chain

A Walgreens store in New York.

MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc said it would buy a 40 per cent stake in Chinese pharmacy chain operator Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores Co Ltd, as the U.S. drugstore chain seeks to expand in the country's fast-growing healthcare market.

Walgreens, the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, said on Wednesday it would buy the minority stake from China National Accord Medicines Corp Ltd for about $416-million.

The deal comes when the Chinese government has been encouraging private investments and equity from abroad in its healthcare industry.

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Healthcare expenditure in China is expected to reach $1.1-trillion by 2020, according to an estimate by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

GuoDa, which operates and franchises 3,500 retail pharmacies across 70 cities in China, said the Walgreens investment would help its nationwide expansion plans.

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