TOKYO -- Aeon will become the first foreign retailer to operate stores in Myanmar since the country embarked on democratic reforms in 2011.
The Japanese retail giant will create a joint venture in early August with local conglomerate Creation (Myanmar) Group of Cos. to co-operate supermarkets in the booming Southeast Asian country. Aeon will provide the majority of the funding for the venture, which will be capitalized at $8.1 million.
The new company will obtain assets from a Creation unit, taking over 14 supermarkets under the Orange chain, which mainly operates in Yangon. It will begin opening new stores by the end of the year. The stores will carry Aeon's private-label merchandise made in Thailand and elsewhere.
Foreign retailers had been blocked from making investments in Myanmar under the military regime. In 2014, the Myanmar Investment Commission lifted the restrictions, but the government had not given permission to any overseas retailer.