Anhui's Chery Automobile, one of the mainland's top 10 carmakers, has sold stakes to local investors, raising 2.9 billion yuan (HK$3.29 billion) to develop alternative-energy vehicles and build new plants. The state-owned, unlisted company said Huarong Asset Management Corp had bought a stake. Company spokesman Jin Yibo told mainland media four other investors, including Bohai Investment Fund and Rongde Asset Management, the joint venture between Huarong and Deutsche Bank, had also bought stakes. Mr Jin said the stakes sold amounted to far less than 20 per cent of the company. In December, Chery received a 10 billion yuan loan from Export-Import Bank of China to support its global operations by increasing exports and importing technology and equipment. Chery is well known for its best-selling QQ car, which costs 30,000 yuan. However, the company missed its sales target of 480,000 units last year, selling only 356,000 cars as its export markets were hit by the global financial crisis. It said it planned to sell 419,000 cars this year. At one time, Chery was poised to be the first mainland carmaker to enter the United States, through a co-operation agreement with Chrysler in 2007. But the tie-up was called off when it became apparent that troubled Chrysler was expected to be forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In April, Chery showcased its premium Riich and Rely brands - priced between 200,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan - at the Shanghai Auto Show. Mainland carmakers are gearing up to make environment-friendly vehicles as Beijing pushes for a 'green', low-emissions car industry. Other mainland carmakers, such as Chery's direct rival, Geely Automobile Holdings, are also moving to sell more expensive alternative-energy cars as a way to strengthen their brand reputation in the domestic market. Chery had planned to list on the A-share market. However, weak profits from selling inexpensive vehicles and a falling stock market slowed its progress. Mr Jin said earlier that the company could provide no substantial details on a listing, such as a timeline or size. Meanwhile, a source in the National Development and Reform Commission said the commission had given Chery the green light to proceed with an international acquisition. The central government previously suggested state-backed carmakers should take a cautious approach in such acquisitions to avoid buying overpriced assets. However, chairman Yin Tongyao said the carmaker had no intention to acquire any foreign vehicle assets at the moment, noting SAIC Motor Corp's inability to manage South Korea's Ssangyong Motor.