Japanese convenience store operator FamilyMart expects to operate 1000 outlets in China by 2008.

Earlier this week the group said it would welcome customers at its first store in Shanghai this summer, and hopes to have as many as 500 stores up and running by 2006.

In February, FamilyMart, its Taiwanese JV, Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. and a Chinese company together founded a joint company to operate convenience stores in Shanghai, reacting to market intelligence suggesting huge potential in this sector.

The Chinese government is expected to approve the new company’s plans by this summer, reported Jiji Press.