Costco has built a cult following in the United States — now it's China's turn. The country's first Costco store is so popular that it had to shut down early on its first day because of too many shoppers.
The retailer opened its first physical outlet in Shanghai on Tuesday morning, and it quickly got too crowded to stay open.
"The store has been clogged up with crowds," Costco said in a text message alert to its members in China. "To provide you with better shopping experience, Costco will suspend business in the afternoon. Please don't come."
Police were deployed to restore order and manage traffic jams around the store, with law enforcement urging people to remain calm.
"For your safety, we hope citizens who want to go to Costco can maintain a rational attitude about consumption and avoid going out during rush hours. Those who have already gone there, you must follow orders," the Shanghai police said in a statement on its verified account on Chinese social network Weibo.
But despite the early buzz around its Shanghai store, the US retailer will have to prove it can stick around for the long haul. It has to contend not only with global rivals like Walmart and big Chinese players like Alibaba and JD.com, but also with China's rapid economic changes and its growing online retail industry.