Turkish clothing brand Koton sees China as a key new market for its products, and says it plans to open retail stores and a production plant in the country. 

The company' president Yilmaz Yilmaz said: "We plan to invest in China. Our investment plans comprise not only opening a retail store, but also a production plant."

He said he will visit China in July to look at investing the market and finding partners to work with. "After this journey, probably in October, our investment plans to become definite."

The decision to open retail stores in China hinges on being able to shift production to this low cost country.

Mr Yilmaz also said the company plans to open retail stores in countries neighboring Turkey, such as Greece.

"Today we have a total of 80 stores in Turkey. Our plan in 2005 is to increase this number to 110. The total value of this investment will be US$5 million.

"We also plan to open new stores abroad in 2005. Currently we have 22 stores abroad and by the end of this year our aim is to increase this number to 32 by adding 10 new stores."

Koton has an office in Germany from where it markets its products to Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Spain.

By Hasan Gulveren.