China's Sinochem has hired HSBC bank to advise it on its options regarding Potash Corp
, the target of a $38.6 billion (25 billion pound) hostile bid from BHP Billiton, the Wall Street Journal reported on its blog on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The blog said that the state-owned company's move is preliminary and doesn't mean the Chinese company has decided to make a counterbid for Potash.

Potash has held discussions with Sinochem, a source close to the matter told Reuters in August.

HSBC was not immediately available for comment. An attempt to reach Sinochem's offices in Houston was unsuccessful.