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Japanese sushi chain Sushiro eyes cross-border expansion next year

Japanese conveyor-belt sushi chain Sushiro is to strengthen its Asia presence by launching in Thailand and China next year.

The expansion is part of the company’s plan to boost its overseas sales to approximately 10 per cent in the fiscal 2021 by opening 24 to 28 restaurants internationally while cutting down new outlets in its home market.

Thailand’s first outlet will be opened in Bangkok early next year, followed by the launch of China’s first restaurant next September.

Explaining the move, CEO of Sushiro, Koichi Mizutome, told Nikkei that Asian people are more familiar with Japan culture and many of them have travelled to Japan. They also have a higher tolerance for raw fish.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, China has still been a lucrative market for Japanese retailers. Nikkei reports that, Sushiro rival, Kura Sushi chain is eyeing China with its plan to enter the market within three years. The chain also aims to roll out 1000 restaurants across Asia.

“Many Japanese restaurants are now trying to diversify their business after the coronavirus outbreak,” Akihiko Koga, CEO of Japan Food Culture, told Nikkei. “They are forced to consider three options: domestic dine-in and takeout businesses and foreign markets.”

Founded in 1984, Sushiro operates more than 530 branches in Japan and overseas markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.

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