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China the biggest recipient of auto investment

By Wang Ying (China Daily)

08:18, March 15, 2013

Nearly 60 percent of global automobile-plant investments in 2012 went to China, and the trend should continue for the foreseeable future, a Canadian research report said.

China - the world's largest producer and buyer of automobiles - received C$9.62 billion last year from new-capacity investments, or 59.6 percent of the global total.

The figure over the past four years was C$40 billion ($38.9 billion), or 57 percent of the world total, according to the Office of Automotive and Vehicle Research, Odette School of Business, University of Windsor.

The report, which studies major automotive-assembler investment announcements, said China has been the world leader in attracting investments since 2002, and received more than half of all such spending in each of the past three years.

The large amount of investment to China is a result of the nation's growing consumer power, said Ma Chunxia, an industrial analyst with Zheshang Securities.

In the first two months of this year, 3.4 million vehicles were sold in China, an increase of 14.72 percent year-on-year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

Although China has made great progress in developing urban public transportation, car ownership continues to rise across the country because it's often regarded as a token of social status.

Zhang Hai, a 33-year-old IT engineer in Shanghai, said having a car would provide more shopping options.

"If I want to buy some clothes in a discount outlet in suburban Qingpu district, I have fewer choices with public transportation. If I have a car, the problem will be solved," she said.

China will be the world's biggest auto market for the foreseeable future as the country strengthens its position, said Tony Faria, author of the report.

"Saleswise, nobody is going to touch (China), period," Faria was quoted as saying by Automotive News, a Detroit-based weekly newspaper that reports on the automotive industry.

"Productionwise, the same is true given the current level of capacity to build in China - plus, new capacity is still piling in."

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