PARIS — French department store operator Galeries Lafayette and Hong Kong-based investment holding company I.T Limited have created a joint venture to open Galeries Lafayette department stores in Greater China, the first of which is set to bow in Beijing in 2013.


The 194,000-square-foot unit, to be located in city’s Xidan commercial district, will be Galeries Lafayette’s first directly managed department store in Asia, the company said.


Under the terms of the joint venture, in which both firms will own a 50 percent stake, I.T will invest a maximum of around 150 million Hong Kong dollars, or $19.3 million, in the first store, according to a statement filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange Nov. 12.


Further openings are expected to follow in more than a dozen other cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Xian and Shenzhen, according to the stock market filing. The two parties had originally signed a letter of intent in December 2007.


Galeries Lafayette operates 61 department stores worldwide and reported total retail sales of 2.55 billion euros, or $3.56 billion, in 2009. I.T operates more than 350 stores in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and posted turnover of 2.99 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $386.48 million, in the financial year ended 2010.