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Japan's 100-yen shops look to Middle East markets

An increasing number of Japanese retailers, including a chain of so-called 100-yen shops, have entered the markets of the United Arab Emirates and other Middle East countries.

Among parts of the Middle East where economic growth is continuing, Dubai has been especially remarkable in becoming a commercial hub city where internationalisation has been rapidly progressing.

Many Japanese retailers have expanded their business in the Middle East, with Dubai serving as their base.

In Lamcy Plaza, a commercial facility in Dubai, the Daiso chain - known as an operator of 100-yen shops in Japan - runs a "7 dirham shop". Seven dirham is about 200 yen (or Bt62).

The shop is managed by a local company that signed a franchise contract with Daiso Sangyo Inc, which is based in Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima prefecture, and operates the Daiso chain.

The first shop opened in Dubai in 2004 and three or four new shops have been opened every year since.

Now there are nearly 40 shops in the chain in the UAE and in nearby countries.

Its chief operating officer aims to open more shops, saying: "Our shops' popularity is spreading because of an image that Japanese products are of high quality."

Last year, Ryohin Keikaku Co opened its Mujirushi Ryohin stores, which sell clothing and other general merchandise in Kuwait and Dubai, and aims to expand in the Middle East.

"In Dubai, where a large number of tourists visit, the effects of advertising are expected to spread to the whole of the Middle East," a spokesman of the company said.

Yellow Hat Ltd, an auto-supply chain, entered Dubai's market in 2008 and now operates four stores in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.


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