NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

, which opened its flagship store in Hong Kong on Friday, said it intends to increase its store presence in China by five times in the next year.

Gap said it expects to have 45 stores in China by the end of 2012. The retailer has been in China for a year and has nine stores -- four in Shanghai, four in Beijing and one in Hong Kong. New stores are forecast to open in the next few weeks in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Tianjin.

The retailers' sales in Asia have been rising, with its third-quarter net sales at its namesake stores in Asia at $219 million from $197 million a year ago. Asia is Gap's second-largest market in terms of sales.

Gap launched an e-commerce site in China last year and since then has seen orders from 330 cities in the country.

"Based on the demand levels we've experienced through e-commerce sales over the last year, we know that Hong Kong consumers have a strong appetite for Gap's affordable, high-quality and uniquely American fashion," said Redmond Yeung, president of Gap Greater China, in a statement Friday.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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