Tesco's entry into India may not be the smooth ride hoped for as a new local super­market operator with a UK influence looks set to become the country's leading food chain.

The brand proposition behind Reliance Retail, which has plans for 4,000 stores by 2010, has been created by UK agency Astound. The agency - which designed ­Tesco's Every Little Helps slogan - has created the formats, design, strategy, marketing communications and own-brand packaging for what is being dubbed India's first national chain of this standard.

By Christmas it will have opened 300 supermarkets and c-stores. Next year it will begin opening hypermarkets with the goal of operating in 800 cities.

Reliance Retail will be watched keenly by Tesco, which is believed to be close to entering the country through a joint venture, potentially with telecoms giant Bharti Enterprises.

However, Reliance Retail is backed with £2.94bn investment from its parent firm Reliance Industries, which is India's second largest company.

"This amount of money is more than others' entire global development budget," said Astound director Mark Dickens. "The foreign invaders may have their global supply chains finely honed, but Reliance is a major, respected brand in India."

As India has no real infrastructure in place to support supermarkets, Reliance is investing £2.6bn over five years to create its first ­supply chain.