South Korea's Lotte Shopping is reportedly mulling a takeover bid for Chinese supermarket chain Times, a move that would further heighten competition in China's retail market. 

Lotte has a department store in Beijing and eight discount stores, thanks to last year's acquisition of CTA Marko. But its presence in China is still relatively small.  

Hong Kong-based Times owns 65 hypermarkets and supermarkets in eastern China, which would significantly boost Lotte's China business.  

"Management is likely feeling they need scaleability in China. China's retail market is the centre of opportunities in Asia," Han Kook Hee, analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul, told just-food.  

Times announced that it was interested in selling its supermarkets in August.

A spokesman at Lotte Shopping unit Lotte Department Store told Reuters that the firm has "reviewed" the offer but not yet made a decision.

Reports have also claimed that ambitious Beijing retailer Wumart is bidding for Times.  

Lotte Shopping has a leading 43% share in department stores at home and is number three in discount business so it needs to look abroad for growth. Acquiring Times would be "a positive step," said Han.  

So far, the chain's overseas performance has not been that good, she added. Going abroad is tough for Korean retailers as they face strong competition from global chains.