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Tesco to Buy Out China Venture Partner - Report

Taiwan-managed Ting Hsin International Group will sell its stake in a China-based supermarket chain to Britain's Tesco for more than US$400 million, Taiwan media reported on Tuesday.

Tesco's purchase of Ting Hsin's 50 percent stake in the chain, Hymall, would give the British supermarket operator full ownership of the venture, the Economic Daily said.

Hymall became a 50-50 venture in 2004 when Tesco purchased 50 percent of the chain from Ting Hsin for US$260 million.

A Taiwan-based spokesman for Ting Hsin had no comment on the report. A China-based spokeswoman for Hymall also had no comment, but said the company may release a statement later in the day.

Hymall was established in 1997 and is one of China's largest retailers. Tesco had said earlier this year that it wanted to expand in China and already has 50 Chinese hypermarkets in collaboration with Hymall, with its biggest presence in Shanghai.

Tesco's foreign retail competitors in China include France's Carrefour and Wal-Mart. The company also competes with local rivals such as Wumart, Lianhua, Beijing Jingkelong and China Resources Enterprise.