Japanese retailer Aeon is to spend JPY200bn (US$2.49bn) until 2013 on its expansion in Asia, including in China, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

"As the Japanese economy slows down, we are actively looking for opportunities in other countries," said an Aeon spokesperson.

Fast-developing Asian countries not only offer great opportunities but "are close to Japan geographically and share a similar culture, which is certainly an advantage for communication", she added.

This year, Aeon's convenient store chain Ministop will be launched in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. 

"A local joint venture has already been established," the spokesperson said. Aeon plans to build a shopping mall in the city by 2013. 

The retailer operates a variety of formats including shopping malls, convenience stores and small supermarkets. In February, it opened a small supermarket MaxValu Tanjai in downtown Bangkok, selling packed fresh foods to local white-collar workers.