Organizational commitment is believed to be critical to organizational effectiveness and has been studied extensively in Western management research. It is claimed that the organizational commitment construct developed in Western contexts is valid across nations and cultures (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch and Topolnytsky 2002) and is a global predictor of intention to quit (Campbell and Campbell 2003). In this study we seek to understand whether organizational commitment differs between various cultures by exploring the organizational commitment of local employees in the Chinese subsidiary stores of a British multinational retailer and its relationship with employees' willingness to stay. China constitutes an important location to test such theories given its rapid integration into the global economy along with increased levels of labour turnover that have become a serious problem for many foreign‐invested enterprises. It is a timely point at which to investigate the factors that underlie both labour turnover and retention in China and to explore whether organizational commitment contributes to retention. The multinational selected for the research operates over 50 stores in 23 Chinese cities and has become that country's third largest foreign retailer and its largest home improvement chain store.