Report: Wal-Mart in Global Online Push

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart is to seeking to emulate Amazon's global success, launching an international e-commerce initiative aimed at securing billions of dollars of additional sales in countries including China, Japan and Brazil, according to The Financial Times.

The retailer is increasingly looking to overseas sales to offset slowing growth in the United States, and said it will invest "millions of dollars" in what it labels "a multi-billion dollar opportunity over the next three to five years,” the report said.

A new global unit at Wal-Mart's international division will oversee the creation of an e-commerce platform that could sell groceries, general merchandise and digital products while linking its stores with call centers.

The retailer is now recruiting software architects and engineers to build a system that includes data mining and customer analysis that could be readily deployed in different markets.

Wal-Mart described the initiative as "an important effort for the company," but declined to give further details. "The opportunity in this area is tremendous," it added.

The move reflects growing interest among U.S. retailers in the international possibilities of e-commerce, after an initial focus on expanding the U.S. market.