Tesco is interested in expanding its presence in China but has no current plans to enter the US market, chief executive Sir Terry Leahy has revealed.

Tesco already operates 50 stores in China, mostly in the Shanghai region, in partnership with Chinese retailer Hymall.

In an interview with the Observer, Leahy said: “We will have to scale up in China. It’s such a big place that you either have to ease out or commit quite a bit.”

He added that there were possibilities to expand in the south of the country and Beijing.

Leahy also made a bid to quash reports that Tesco is planning to enter the US market.

He said: “People have talked about businesses in the US that can be bought but I don’t think they are right for us. We have had researchers in America but I can tell you that we have no current plans to make an acquisition there.”

In recent months the retail giant has been linked to US chains Albertsons, Meijer and Wegmans Food Market.