UK retail giant Tesco signed an agreement before the New Year with developers to open its first Beijing store.

The world's third largest supermarket chain already has 39 stores in China and is looking to continue expanding business outside the UK. Production of its Beijing store is expected to start within a year.

Tesco spokesperson Greg Sage told just-food: "Tesco is now present in 12 countries outside the UK and it is part of company strategy to branch out. China offers great opportunity and so is part of this strategy."

Tesco is not expecting to make any further new international store announcements until the start of its new financial year in April.

Tesco purchased a 50% stake in chain retailer Hymall in 2004, and now trades under its name in Chinese stores.