THE regional distributor for Mercedes-Benz China in the Pearl River Delta and Hainan province has completed the first phase of plans to expand Mercedes-Benz's service network by organising two new joint ventures. Southern Star Motor Co (SSMC) officials said that a new authorised service centre in Jiangmen and a second centre in Guangzhou would open by the end of the year, bringing the total number of service centres in south China to seven. The Jiangmen Zungfu Vehicle Service Co is a US$1.5 million joint venture between Zungfu Co (55 per cent) and Guangdong Overseas Economic and Trade Corp Jiangmen Co (45 per cent). Company officials said the three-storey Jiangmen service centre would handle 1,400 service jobs annually. The second Guangzhou service centre, the Guangdong Zungfu Yibang Vehicle Service Co, is the product of an agreement between Zungfu, which holds 55 per cent, and Guangdong Province Yibang Development Co. 'The completion of our first-phase service network in south China is of major strategic importance to our continued expansion into this fastest growing economic region in Asia,' said Boris Au, SSMC's general manager.