A Lotte Mart is closed in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Photo: Reuters

Lotte Group, South Korea’s retail giant, is in negotiations with multiple firms to sell its discount store chain in China after heavy losses brought on by diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Beijing, an unnamed industry source told Yicai.com on Monday.

Lotte has begun talks with around five foreign investors who expressed interest in the group’s assets in China through its lead manager Goldman Sachs, the source said. The estimated sales value at this point was 830 billion won, or around 4.83 billion yuan, it said.

Thailand’s Chia Tai Group, a US warehouse and supermarket chain that has “a long-term and stable operation in China,” and a US private equity fund (PEF) were said to be potential buyers.

Sources also revealed that Goldman Sachs is not in formal contact with Hualian Group, the previous rumored buyer, for the acquisition.

About 80% of the 112 Lotte Mart stores in China have been closed for more than six months since Chinese authorities tightened safety and sanitary inspections due to Beijing’s retaliation against South Korea’s deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

Read: South Korea’s Lotte considers sale of supermarkets in China