The US retail giant and the Apple retail giant are set to take part in an “innovative” collaboration for the first time in years.

The deal, announced on Thursday, is expected to benefit both companies in the short term.

Walmart is opening up to 50 stores in China, and Apple will open its first China-only retail store in Shanghai, where it is currently building an office complex.

The first two stores are expected to open in the next three to five years, with the company’s China operations expected to begin opening its first stores in 2020.

The agreement between the two companies is expected be the biggest corporate shakeup in the US since the 2008 financial crisis. 

The move comes amid a string of US government and political scandals that have led to protests, demonstrations and strikes across the US.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was “delighted” to work with Walmart, adding that the deal is a “transformational opportunity for both companies”.

He told reporters in a statement: “The two companies will work together to build a stronger community of suppliers and consumers, bringing the two together to transform the retail experience for the American people.”

Walmart has been under intense scrutiny in recent months, as allegations of poor labour conditions at its US stores have become a public health issue.

The retailer has been ordered to pay $US600 million ($780 million) to a former employee who was fired for whistleblowing.

The company has also been under investigation for the firing of a former customer, an alleged whistleblower.

The announcement of the collaboration comes after the US Department of Justice accused Walmart of illegally firing thousands of workers in retaliation for protesting against a wage hike.

The US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, said the allegations against Walmart were “serious”.

The Justice Department said it has filed a lawsuit against Walmart in a federal court in Seattle, saying it fired more than 6,000 workers in response to protests against a $15 per hour minimum wage increase.

Wal-Mart said the $US6.4 billion payment was the largest single payout in its history, but it is the first payment for alleged retaliation against workers.