Tesco is understood to be looking to open in Vietnam, in a move that would extend its empire to 15 countries.

According to The Independent, Tesco flagged up south-east Asia at a recent event for City analysts. It noted the undeveloped grocery markets of Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as their strong economic growth and large populations.

While an announcement about new markets is not thought to be imminent, Tesco told analysts that Vietnam has a population of 87 million and is a “modern grocery distribution” market worth just £4bn at present.

Tesco is already market leader in Thailand and Malaysia, and was thwarted at the end of last year in its efforts to buy stores in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore from Carrefour.

Tesco told the newspaper: “We never comment on rumour or speculation.”