Tesco has joined a bidding war for a raft of stores being put up for sale by Carrefour of France.
The world third-largest retail group by sales, Tesco is one of around a dozen companies in the auction, sources said.
The grocery giant already has a sizeable operation in Asia. Its biggest single business is in South Korea, which last year had sales of £4.2billion. It also has outlets in China, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
Several international retail groups are understood to have signalled their interest in the Carrefour assets. Private equity groups are in the running, and the list of bidders includes Singapore-based Dairy Farm and Aeon of Japan.