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Sainsbury probing China market

Six Sainsbury executive are assessing expansion opportunities for the "medium to long term"

J Sainsbury is considering plans to tap the lucrative Chinese grocery market by opening a chain of stores in the country, it has been reported.

A high-level team of six Sainsbury executives, including group development director Darren Shapland, is already in China to assess expansion opportunities "in the medium to long term" for the UK's third biggest supermarket group.

Sainsbury promoted Shapland in June from his role as finance director, and announced that identifying new opportunities worldwide for business development and carrying out fact-finding missions to other countries would be significant aspects of his new profile.

Sainsbury executives reportedly met officials from China's Ministry of Commerce when they came visiting London recently.
Siansbury's competitors already have China in their cross-hairs. Tesco, the UK's biggest grocer, plans to invest £2bn in China over the next few years by opening 80 giant malls. Wal-mart and French hypermarket chain Carrefour are already present in the Chinese market.