Big-box mega retailer Walmart is launching a new store format in China, according to the global food industry publication But rather than going big with the supercenter format that can be found throughout the United States, Walmart’s plan for China's urban markets is to roll out a new “discount compact hypermarket” called Trust Mart.

The first of these urban stores opened in Zhangshu in October and will soon be found in other “second and third-tier cities,” reports. Walmart’s Chinese Trust Marts offer approximately 3,000-5,000 square meters in shopping space.

Walmart is also using this smaller format in U.S. cities, including Chicago.

"Over the next few years, we will introduce new formats to help us enter new markets,” Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, Bill Simon, said in an earnings statement in October. “Walmart U.S. will move toward a three-format portfolio, which will drive expansion to urban markets and small towns, as well as fill in gaps in existing markets. The large format is our supercenter, which sells a broad assortment of groceries and general merchandise. The medium format, between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet, will be based on the needs of an individual market. The small format, which is less than 30,000 square feet, will be targeted to urban markets and small towns.”

International expansion is a key element of Walmart’s growth strategy moving forward.  The company reported in October that new stores are expected to add 21 million square feet of space this fiscal year and between 23 and 24 million square feet next year.

"Our capital investment for next year will drive new store growth with particular emphasis in the emerging markets of China, Brazil and Mexico," said Doug McMillon, Walmart International president and CEO. "Through a combination of comparable store sales, new store square footage and continued earnings performance, we will continue to shape our international portfolio to drive both growth and improving returns. We will also continue to evaluate acquisitions to enter priority markets and to build scale in existing markets."

Read’s article about Walmart’s small store format in China and the company’s October 2010 earnings release.