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Drugstore Matsumotokiyoshi heads to Hong Kong and Vietnam

Japanese chain aims to tap Asia health boom

Japanese drugstore operator Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings is pursuing growth outside its shrinking home market.

TOKYO -- Japanese drugstore operator Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings will expand into Hong Kong and Vietnam as increasingly health-conscious consumers in these markets are expected to fuel demand for Japanese nutrition supplements and cosmetics.

Matsumotokiyoshi will set up a local arm in Hong Kong by turning a market-research business established in 2007 into a wholly owned subsidiary. It will buy the entire stake from Matsumotokiyoshi President Kiyoo Matsumoto by the end of July.

While acknowledging that Hong Kong is a mature market, the drugstore operator still sees promise, given the number of customers from greater China who seek out Japanese products.

The Vietnamese operations will be run through a joint venture with Ho Chi Minh City-based Lotus Food Group, with which Matsumotokiyoshi said it has reached a basic agreement.

"Vietnam is an emerging market, so there's plenty of room to open new stores," a representative of the Japanese company said.

Matsumotokiyoshi gave no specific time frame for store openings in Hong Kong and Vietnam but said the impact on earnings for the fiscal year ending March 2020 will be minimal.

Matsumotokiyoshi has been pursuing overseas expansion as its home market shrinks. The chain had 33 stores in Thailand and three in Taiwan as of the end of June.

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