Five questions answered on Tesco’s talks with China Resources

A win-win move, or do Tesco still just not understand China?

UK supermarket giant Tesco is said to be in talks with China Resources Enterprise (CRE) about merging both company’s markets and hypermarkets.

How many stores are the companies thinking of merging?

The grocery retailers are talking about merging Tesco’s 131 stores in China with CRE's almost 3,000 stores, which are called Vanguard. Both companies confirmed they were talks in stockmarket statements, but warned there was no guarantee the deal would go through.

How will control be divided up? 

State run CRE would control 80 per cent of the new chain and Tesco would have the remaining 20 per cent. The companies say that if the deal goes through it would mean Vanguard would be the leading multi-format retailer in China.

What will the deal mean for Tesco?

It would mean that Tesco could still have a presence in China without having to invest a significant amount of capital. One analyst, speaking to Reuters new agency, said: "This may look win-win, but in reality, Tesco is saying 'I can't figure out China',".

What has CRE said about the merger?

The company said that the venture would bring together its "deep understanding of local customers, established nationwide infrastructure and proven track record as a partner with Tesco's global retail expertise, international sourcing scale and supply chain capabilities".

What about Tesco’s other overseas operations?

In recent times Tesco, which is the biggest supermarket chain in the UK, has faced increasing difficulties in its overseas operations.

In April the company said it was abandoning its US chain of 199 Fresh & Easy shops. It also announced its first decline in annual profits in almost 20 years. In 2012, it announced it would leave the Japanese market.

The deal would mean Tesco retained a low-capital stake in the Chinese market. Photograph: Getty Images.

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

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“Trembling, shaking / Oh, my heart is aching”: the EU out campaign song will give you chills

But not in a good way.

You know the story. Some old guys with vague dreams of empire want Britain to leave the European Union. They’ve been kicking up such a big fuss over the past few years that the government is letting the public decide.

And what is it that sways a largely politically indifferent electorate? Strikes hope in their hearts for a mildly less bureaucratic yet dangerously human rights-free future? An anthem, of course!

Originally by Carly You’re so Vain Simon, this is the song the Leave.EU campaign (Nigel Farage’s chosen group) has chosen. It is performed by the singer Antonia Suñer, for whom freedom from the technofederalists couldn’t come any suñer.

Here are the lyrics, of which your mole has done a close reading. But essentially it’s just nature imagery with fascist undertones and some heartburn.

"Let the river run

"Let all the dreamers

"Wake the nation.

"Come, the new Jerusalem."

Don’t use a river metaphor in anything political, unless you actively want to evoke Enoch Powell. Also, Jerusalem? That’s a bit... strong, isn’t it? Heavy connotations of being a little bit too Englandy.

"Silver cities rise,

"The morning lights,

"The streets that meet them,

"And sirens call them on

"With a song."

Sirens and streets. Doesn’t sound like a wholly un-authoritarian view of the UK’s EU-free future to me.

"It’s asking for the taking,

"Trembling, shaking,

"Oh, my heart is aching."

A reference to the elderly nature of many of the UK’s eurosceptics, perhaps?

"We’re coming to the edge,

"Running on the water,

"Coming through the fog,

"Your sons and daughters."

I feel like this is something to do with the hosepipe ban.

"We the great and small,

"Stand on a star,

"And blaze a trail of desire,

"Through the dark’ning dawn."

Everyone will have to speak this kind of English in the new Jerusalem, m'lady, oft with shorten’d words which will leave you feeling cringéd.

"It’s asking for the taking.

"Come run with me now,

"The sky is the colour of blue,

"You’ve never even seen,

"In the eyes of your lover."

I think this means: no one has ever loved anyone with the same colour eyes as the EU flag.

I'm a mole, innit.