The UK's largest supermarket group, Tesco, is close to finalising a major bid for a retail chain in Malaysia, spearheading an aggressive drive which would make Tesco a strong presence in Asia. The move is in line with a policy of expansion which found a store opening in Taiwan in December, plans for seven to be built in South Korea, and twenty-four stores in Thailand. Rumours are circulating that Tesco is considering a buyout of Australia's Woolworth's. An announcement is expected which will confirm the acquisition of either Tops, Malaysia's 40-unit strong supermarket business, or Parkson, which operates 30 stores.David Reid, Tesco's deputy chairman, will stress the importance of the Asian market to the company when the interim results are announced on 19 September.