South Korean retailer Shinsegae is to open 100 discount hypermarkets in China by 2015 in an attempt to take advantage of the country’s fast-growing consumer economy.

Shinsegae is to invest more than Yn500 billion (£41.09 billion) in China over the next six years to push its discount format, E-Mart, which sells everything from food to electricals and household goods. It has 15 stores in China at present.

Last month, China’s retail sales grew at close to the fastest pace in at least nine years as rising incomes lift consumer spending. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, retail sales rose 23.2 per cent in August to Yn876.8 billion (£72.05 billion).

Shinsegae chairman Koo Hak-su is understood to want to open five more stores in China this year and open the retailer’s 70th store in the country in 2012 and the 100th in 2015. He is also thought to want to increase the number of E-Mart stores in South Korea from 116 to 150.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that for the first eight months of the year, retail sales in the country climbed 21.9 per cent to Yn6.8 trillion (£558.8 billion) against the previous year. The figure is an improvement on the 16.8 per cent rise for the whole of 2007.