The Chinese supermarket chain Trust-Mart is being courted by four rivals, including Wal-Mart Stores, Tesco and Carrefour, according to a local report.

The Standard newspaper said each suitor, the fourth being Shanghai-based Lianhua, had offered in excess of US$1 billion for the business, whose headquarters are in Taiwan.

The newspaper quoted a source saying: “The clarification process can take a couple of months so it’s still early days.” The source expected the deal to close in September at the earliest.

Local business Lianhua is considered the favourite, thanks to its domestic status and the political connections that brings.

Trust-Mart has more than 100 retail outlets and operates across 20 mainland provinces.