Argos is set to expand into China as part of a joint venture by parent company Home Retail Group and Chinese home appliance manufacturer Haier Group.
The Argos-branded operation will launch in 2012 with the long-term aim of rolling out a multichannel offer to regions throughout China.
Home Retail will have a 49% holding in the company, while the remaining 51% will be held by Haier Electronics Group Co., Limited, which has extensive distribution capability in China. The board of directors will consist of five directors, with three being appointed by Haier Group and two, including the position of chief executive, appointed by Home Retail.
It is anticipated that the joint venture will require a total investment of £45m, of while Home Retail will provide £22m, payable in three instalments over two years.
Home Retail chief executive Terry Duddy said: "We are delighted to announce the launch of this international expansion for the Argos brand. Having co-operated with Haier over the last 18 months we are very excited by the opportunity that the combination of our expertise and Haier's capabilities and scale provide to take advantage of the growth potential in China."
Home Retail Group reported a 70% slump in first-half pre-tax profits this morning, from £94.7m to £28.8m, compared with analyst forecasts of around £30m. Argos saw like-for-like sales drop 9.1%.
Haier Group is one of the world's leading home appliance manufacturers, and exports its products to more than 100 countries. Haier Electronics Group Co., Limited, a subsidiary of Haier Group, also operates an extensive network across China, distributing to around 6,700 franchise stores.