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    Japan's Aeon to Expand in Coastal Regions of China

    TOKYO - Aeon Co Ltd, one of Japan's top three supermarket chains, said today it plans to open nearly 60 new stores in the coastal regions of China by 2006, Reuters reports.

    TOKYO - Aeon Co Ltd, one of Japan's top three supermarket chains, said today it plans to open nearly 60 new stores in the coastal regions of China by 2006, Reuters reports.

    Aeon said it would open outlets in three cities in southern Guangdong province next summer. Each store would strive for annual revenue of around five billion yen ($39.30 million), according to Reuters.

    Aeon currently operates 12 stores in China, mainly in Hong Kong.

    The company said it will compete with global retailers by focusing on the coastal cities which are "enjoying the highest growth rate and easily accessible by ship," it said.

    "We are especially keen on Guangdong, which alone hosts a population equivalent to that of Japan," an Aeon spokesman said.

    U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and French giant Carrefour SA are expanding widely into other cities in China, where they currently operate 15 and 27 stores respectively, he added.

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