UK supermarket Tesco's joint venture in China will open 15 new outlets in cities including Beijing over the course of the coming year, according to a report in the China Business newspaper quoted by the AFX news agency.

The newspaper quoted Tesco's chief executive Sir Terry Leahy as saying that the venture, Hymart-Hymall, currently operates a total of 32 chain stores in China.

Tesco paid £140m (US$244m) cash to food processor and retailer Ting Hsin International Group in July 2004 for a 50% stake in its 25 hypermarkets operating under the Hymall brand name, AFX said.