Ito-Yokado Co. will reportedly open a supermarket in Beijing by spring 2005 together with a local retailer and might open several more in China.

Japan’s largest supermarket chain will join hands with Beijing Wangfujing Department Store (Group) Co., which runs 11 outlets in the country, and will set up a joint venture for the project in September, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Sunday.

The venture will be capitalized at $12 million. Ito-Yokado will hold a 40 percent stake and its group firm York-Benimaru Co. will hold 20 percent, while the Chinese partner will hold a 40 percent stake, it said.

The supermarket will specialize largely in food, concentrating on its knowhow of keeping products fresh and safe, the sources were quoted as saying.

Amid growing concerns over hygiene among Chinese consumers after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, Ito-Yokado apparently believes its knowhow will attract consumers.

Yuan bonds

OSAKA (Kyodo) The Japan Bank for International Cooperation plans to issue yuan-denominated bonds in China by the end of this year, its governor said Monday.

Kyosuke Shinozawa said the bond issuance is designed to raise funds for yuan loans to Japanese companies doing business in China.

Shinozawa also said the bank plans to guarantee local currency-denominated bonds to be issued by Japanese companies in the rest of Asia.

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