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By Ilaina Jonas
NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - Simon Property Group has tentatively agreed to partner with Bailian Group, the largest retail conglomerate in China, to develop the first Premium Outlet Center in China, adjacent to the Shanghai Disney Resort.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the proposed Simon-Bailian joint venture would allow for the development of additional Premium Outlet Centers in China, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday. The outlet in Pudong, Shanghai, will be owned by Pudong City Government.
Simon is the world's largest owner and developer of outlet centers, with interest in 70 Premium Outlet Centers in the United States Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Puerto Rico. It also is building its first outlet mall in Canada near Toronto.
David Simon, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, has been speaking publically about expanding Simon's outlet business since the spring. In 2005, Simon ventured into China with a plan to build shopping centers anchored by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, but Simon later withdrew.
Many of Simon's U.S. outlets are popular tourists destinations, such as Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, about an hour outside of New York City, and Las Vegas Premium Outlets.
Bailian Group is China's largest retail conglomerate, active in various retail businesses, such as department stores, shopping malls and supermarkets. It operates about 6,000 stores.
Shares of Simon on Thursday were up 0.4 percent, at $136.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting By Ilaina Jonas