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Aeon Head to Invest $1.5B in Vietnamese Shopping Centers

HO CHI MINH CITY- The head of major Japanese supermarket chain operator Aeon Co revealed in early March plans to invest about $1.5 billion over the coming decade to open shopping centers and stores in Ho Chi Minh City and elsewhere in Vietnam.

Motoya Okada, Aeon president and chief executive officer, made the remarks at a news conference in Vietnam’s southern metropolis to discuss the Aeon group’s expansion plans in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Firstly, he said, the company plans to open in 2014 the Aeon Tan Phu Celadon Shopping Center, to be built in Celadon city in the thriving Tan Phu district, about 7 km west of downtown Ho Chi Minh city, with about 130 specialty retailers.

Last October, Aeon acquired an investment license for the shopping center project from Ho Chi Minh City authorities and set up a local corporation, Aeon Vietnam Co, Capitalized at $101 million.

Okada said Aeon plans to expand to 20 stores nationwide by 2020, though the initial focus will be on Ho Chi Minh City.

The retailing group of some 180 companies has adopted a “shift to Asia” strategy in its three-year medium-term management plan, commencing in 2011, as the Asian market is forecast to grow significantly in the near future, in contrast with that of Japan.

The Group’s companies have joined forces in a consolidated effort to expand business rapidly in China and Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia where Aeon has outlets including general merchandise stores, supermarkets and convenience stores.

In addition, group companies including financial service operators, specialty store companies, service operators and others are accelerating overseas expansion.

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