Korean Air Co. said on Monday that it would launch a low-cost carrier within three years, making it the largest Asian airline to target the budget aviation market.

The company will now offer less expensive domestic and short to mid-ranged international flights, a move aimed at competing with low-cost rivals from China.

The move follows Japanese rival All Nippon Airways who said last week that it would start its own low-cost airline.

This is also a display of Korean Air's will that it shall no longer remain indifferent to the invasion of low cost carriers from China and Southeast Asia into the Korean market, the statement said.

Korean Air is the world's leading commercial air cargo firm.