Japanese supermarket giant Aeon and Japan's leading food wholesaler Mitsubishi Shokuhin will team to operate food-oriented supermarkets in China.
According to reports in Chinese local media, the two companies plan to jointly establish local corporations in three coastal provinces in China and the operation is expected to be started within 2012. Mitsubishi Shokuhin will be responsible for the building of a complete temperature managed logistical network, which enables frozen and refrigerated delivery. Aeon hopes to first launch fresh products same as those offered in Japan, aiming to attract medium- and high-end consumers in China.
According to the plan of Aeon, its subsidiary Maxvalu will be responsible for the opening of stores in Guangdong, Shandong, and Jiangsu. Before next spring, local corporations will be set up in these three provinces. Aeon will own a 80% stake in the joint ventures while Mitsubishi Shokuhin and its parent company will hold the remaining 20%.
The first Maxvalu-branded store is expected to be open in Guangzhou before the end of 2012. The new store will have an area of 2,500 square meters, selling up to 10,000 kinds of vegetables, non-staple food, and processed food. In the future, the Maxvalu stores will develop its own brand of products which comply with the tastes of local consumers.
In 2011, Aeon's sales in China were JPY115.2 billion, only accounting for 2% of its total sales. However, the Japanese supermarket retailer is optimistic about the Chinese market. It plans to open at least ten shopping centers each year after 2014.