Japan-owned convenience store chain 7-Eleven is to expand in south-west China, starting in regional centres Chongqing and Chengdu.

Parent Seven & I Holdings has struck a deal with the Japanese trading company Mitsui and the Chengdu-based agribusiness firm New Hope Group, to help roll out the expansion, it said.

“We plan to set up a company in Chongqing in March, and open the first store in the city as soon as in October,” said an official at 7-Eleven’s Chengdu-based marketing department.

He also confirmed that 7-Eleven China will invest CNY100m (US$15.7m) in its Chengdu operations.

“The investment will be mainly used for increasing franchise stores, which are expected to account for 90% of our new stores opened this year,” said the official, adding that it plans to add 50 stores in Chengdu.

China already has more than 1,800 7-Eleven stores in wealthy cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.