American hypermarket chain Meijer has opened its first direct sourcing office in Hong Kong - its first operation outside the US and a platform from which it will expand its sourcing activities throughout Asia.

Meijer is one of the largest privately owned retailers in the US, operating more than 210 supercentres and selling over 40 product categories including apparel.

The new office in Hong Kong, Meijer Trading Ltd, will be responsible for sourcing, quality assurance and quality control at its supplier factories manufacturing in Asia. It will also play a key role in ensuring the highest standards of social compliance are implemented in the factories selected to manufacture Meijer's own brand products.

The Hong Kong operation will cover all of Asia Pacific, with significant growth planned for the future.

"As a major and central hub for business in Asia, Hong Kong appeared to be the most efficient and business friendly place to start our operations," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and chief executive officer.

Andrew Davis, the associate director-general of investment promotion at Invest Hong Kong, said Meijer should benefit from increased efficiency thanks to Hong Kong's status as a logistics and distribution hub, as well as its close proximity to many strategic manufacturing bases in mainland China and other parts of Asia.