General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) has begun building a vehicle testing center in China in a move to maintain its leadership in the nation's auto market.

Together with its Chinese partner, Saic Motor Corp (SHA: 600104), the nation's biggest carmaker by sales volume, General Motors will invest $2.53 billion in the project, which is tipped to be the largest of its kind in China.

The 5.6-square-kilometer research and development facility is located in Guangde county, Anhui province in central-eastern China, and is expected to create 100 jobs.

"The quantity and speed of our production in China will increase substantially because we are eager to capture a bigger market share," GM China president, Kevin Wale, told Reuters during a telephone interview. "If you want to be a carmaker as big as we are in China you have to be generous," Wale added.

General Motors used to rent testing centers owned by other automakers or governments, a strategy which reduced its efficiency and cost the company much time and money.

General Motors was responsible for 14% of total vehicle sales in China last year. It currently invests $1 billion annually in the country.

 

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