Itochu Corp.'s Japanese retailer FamilyMart has confirmed to just-food that it will triple the number of convenience stores it operates in China to 500 over the next three years.

"We plan to expand our growing market [presence] in China not only in numbers of stores but also infrastructure," a spokesperson for the group said.

The spokesperson added that the company was looking to improve food safety by increasing control down the supply chain.

The spokesperson predicted that FamilyMart would turn a profit in China within two years, as store openings proceed.

FamilyMart will work with its Chinese partner Ting Hsin. Japanese conglomerate Itochu recently took a 20% stake in Ting Hsin to cement the partnership.

Facing a stagnant domestic market, FamilyMart is looking to expand operations abroad. Its goal is to increase overseas stores to 20,000 from the 14,000 it currently operates.