German retail giant Metro AG has committed itself to invest US$17m in a new supermarket in Tianjin, China.

The new store should generate annual sales in the region of 750m yuan (US$90.6m) once it opens doors early next year. Sales are forecast to grow to 1bn yuan as they gain momentum.

Metro already operates 15 stores in Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xiamen and Fuzhou. The new store represents the German group's first move into North China, however, and a spokesperson for the group said that Metro plans to open five stores each year in the larger cities of the region.

Local press noted that other multinational retailers are currently stepping up their presence in China, including Wal-Mart and French giant Carrefour.