Tesco is in talks to enter the Chinese market with a possible 50% stake in the 25-strong Hymall chain from holding group Ting Hsin International.

And a Citigroup Smith Barney report into grocery retailing in the Far East, said it believed that Tesco was now ready to enter the Chinese market after a three-year search for a suitable partner.

Tesco already operates in five markets since its entry into Asia in 1998, with stores in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.