Japan’s retail giant Aeon announced that it has formed a business alliance with two Vietnamese retailers namely Fivimart Co., and CitiMart Co., with a view to expanding its operation in the country.

According to the Kyodo news agency, Aeon decided to take 30 percent of stake in Fivimart Co. and a 49 percent stake in Citimart Co. The two Vietnamese companies now run nearly 50 stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .

Under the tie-up, Aeon’s Top Value-branded products will be put on sale in Fivimart and Citimart supermarket chains. The Japanese firm will also collaborate with the two Vietnamese partners in developing products and expand supply systems.

Aeon launched its first shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City in January 2014, followed by another outside the city in November. It plans to open the third mall in Hanoi by the end of 2015.

The Japanese retailer sees the country as its second most important market in Southeast Asia after Malaysia and is aiming to have 200 stores in Vietnam with total sales increasing to 100 billion JPY.-VNA