Is Costco owned by China? (Ownership, Products + More)

Is Costco owned by China

Do you know if Costco Wholesale is owned by China or if Costco is Chinese-owned? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Costco is one of the largest and most popular membership retailers in America… and the world. It has locations in a number of other countries, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, and more. But is Costco actually owned by the United States, or not?

So, is Costco owned by China? The answer is no. China does not own Costco, and as of 2022, they have never had any ownership in the past. Costco is a completely American-owned company, from the time of its founding in the 1980s. However, some Costco products are indeed manufactured in China, and there is a Costco located in Shanghai.

The rest of this article is going to go into detail about the ownership of Costco, its founding, and where its products are manufactured.

Is Costco owned by China?

No, Costco is not owned by China. Not only is it currently an American-owned company, but it has actually always been so. China has never had any part in ownership of Costco, even though it has become a global company.

Despite the fact that there are Costco stores in many other countries besides the United States, none of these other countries have any part in ownership of the company.

It is solely an American company and will most likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

Who owns Costco?

Costco is currently owned by an American corporation called Costco Wholesale Corporation. This corporation came to be after a merger between two other companies: Costco and Price Club.

This merger happened in 1993, when the company became PriceCostco. It did not become solely Costco until 1997, when the company changed its name for the final time.

As of 2022, the Costco Wholesale Corporation’s CEO is a man named W. Craig Jelinek. Hamilton E. James is the chairman of the board.

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Where was Costco founded?

Costco was founded by James Sinegal and Jeffrey H. Brotman in September of 1983. They opened the very first Costco warehouse in the city of Seattle, Washington.

That October, they opened their second warehouse in Portland, Oregon, and then a third one in Spokane, Washington that December.

Costco as we know it today is the result of a merger between Costco and Price Club. The original Costco warehouses merged with another bulk store called Price Club, becoming PriceCostco.

When Sinegal and Brotman opened their first Costco location, they were actually emulating Price Club’s business model—so it is no surprise that the two companies ended up merging eventually!

Now, in the year 2022, there are 804 Costco locations spread out across the world. However, 558 of these locations are in the United States.

So, despite being a company with a global reach, Costco remains as it was founded: firmly rooted in the United States.

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Does China manufacture Costco products?

Costco is a huge store which sells a very wide variety of brands. Inevitably, some of these brands are manufactured in China.

For example, Costco sells Apple products, many of which are manufactured in China. Many clothing brands that Costco sells also have origins in China.

Costco has its own signature brand called Kirkland Signature, and many of the brands under this label are indeed manufactured in China.

Costco does make an attempt to manufacture many of their private label products within the United States. However, items like electronics and clothing are often manufactured outside of the States, and are very likely to be made in China.

China actually makes up 28.7% of the global marketing output. So, even if many brands do not outright state it, it is very likely that they have at least some products that are made in China.

Think about it—28.7% of all the products manufactured across the world is a huge amount!

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Are there any Costco locations in China?

Yes, there is currently one location of Costco within China. It opened in August of 2019 in Shanghai. This store has been an incredible success, having gained more than 200,000 members within only a couple of months after its opening.

The average members of a Costco store is 68,000, so you can imagine how successful the Shanghai Costco is!

On its opening day, the Shanghai Costco was in the news because so many people wanted to visit that they were forced to close for four hours due to overcrowding.

There is a second Costco planned to open in China quite soon.

Where else does Costco have locations?

Costco has locations in many other countries besides the United States and China, although the vast majority of its 804 locations are open in America.

With that being said, Costco also has locations in the following countries:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • The United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • Iceland
  • France
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • Sweden

Will more Costco locations open in China?

Costco has been far more successful in China than anyone anticipated when the first store opened in Shanghai.

Due to this success, there is already a second location being built in China. If the second location proves to be as popular as the first one, many more locations could open in the future.

Wholesale and membership retail is a market that is largely unexplored in China. So, when Costco opened its first store there, it was tapping into a brand new market.

Costco’s success has been fairly unique, like other retail giants, like Tesco and Amazon, have attempted—and failed—to grab hold in China.

So, yes, at least one more Costco location will be opening in China. Judging by the overwhelming success of the first location, many more locations will soon follow.


So, is Costco owned by China? The answer is no. Costco is an American-owned company. It was founded in Seattle in the year 1983 and is currently owned by a corporation called Costco Wholesale Corporation.

China has never had any part in the ownership of Costco.

With that being said, China does manufacture some of the products sold at Costco, including some clothing and electronics.

There is also one Costco location open in China. It is located in Shanghai, and there are more Costco locations set to open in China in the future.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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