Supermarket giant Tesco is to make its debut in India by developing a wholesale cash-and-carry business.
The firm said it would pump £60 million into the venture for the first two years as it plans an assault on the Indian wholesale retail market.
The operation will be based in Mumbai, offering products to small Indian retailers, restaurants, stores and other business owners.
It is the group's first foray into India and into the wholesale market, but Tesco today said it was also interested in launching a consumer retail offering in India.
Tesco has also signed an agreement with Indian conglomerate Tata Group's retail arm, Trent, to help support and guide the development of its hypermarket business, Star Bazaar, for a fee.
Tesco's new wholesale outlet will also supply Star Bazaar, which Trent is hoping to grow from four current outlets to 50 over the next five years.
Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, said: "This is another exciting development for Tesco.
"It complements our entries into China and the United States, giving us access to another of the most important economies in the world. Our wholesale cash-and-carry format will bring improved value, range and service to thousands of Indian businesses."
Tesco already sources more than £170 million worth of Indian products each year and has sourcing offices in Delhi, Bangalore and Tirupur.
It said it was too early to give an idea of the number of staff it would be recruiting for the venture.
Tesco employs nearly 3,000 staff at its service centre in Bangalore, which provides IT, financial and business services to the Tesco group.
The Indian launch follows Tesco's expansion into the US last October with its consumer facing Fresh & Easy stores.
It already operates across Europe, in the Czech Republic, Hungary. Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey, while the group has 814 stores across Asia, in China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.