Sainsbury's eyes tilt at China

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J Sainsbury looks set to try and break into the Chinese groceries market after sending a high level team to the country to asses the viability of such a move.

The team includes Darren Shapland, the UK's third biggest supermarket group's former finance director, who was moved to a senior business development role in the summer to consider expansions abroad.

The group said that its position had not changed since June, when it announced the changes to Mr Shapland's role and stated that it would conduct fact-finding missions overseas, but that it had no short or medium term aspirations to open stores.

According to reports over the weekend, senior executives at Sainsbury's met with officials from China's Ministry of Commerce when they visited London last week.

Expansion into China would follow similar moves by Sainsbury's competitors. Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket group, plans to invest £2bn on shops in China over the next five years.