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Discounter Don Quijote debuts in Thailand with eye across Asia

Operator plans shops in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia

Pan Pacific International Holdings founder Takao Yasuda, second from left, introduces the Donki Mall Thonglor in Bangkok on Feb. 20, two days before its official opening. (Photo by Marimi Kishimoto)

BANGKOK -- Japanese discount store chain Don Quijote begins a wave of Asian expansion on Friday with the launch of a shopping complex in Bangkok, aiming to increase the number of overseas stores to 200 from 41 now.

Plans call for opening stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Malaysia as well, Koji Ohara, president and CEO of chain operator Pan Pacific International Holdings, said Wednesday.

The Donki Mall Thonglor, located in an upscale residential area of Bangkok, initially will house 34 tenants, anchored by Pan Pacific's Don Don Donki discount store brand. Ohara anticipates 2 billion yen ($18 million) in annual sales at Thailand's first Don Don Donki.

"Thailand is the most marketable country in Southeast Asia," Takao Yasuda, founding chairman and supreme advisor at Pan Pacific, said Wednesday. "We will continue to explore opening multiple stores here."

The roughly 28,000-sq.-meter shopping center will be operated by a joint venture among Pan Pacific, Thai paint maker TOA group and a local subsidiary of a Japanese parking lot developer.

Thailand represents Pan Pacific's third foreign expansion after the U.S. and Singapore. Japan hosted over 1 million Thai tourists in 2018, and many of these people bought souvenirs like candy and makeup at Don Quijote stores, which stay open late.

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