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China’s sales of electric vehicles in the first nine months jumped 44 per cent to 44,000 units. An electric taxi navigates in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on October 19, 2016. Photo: Xinhua

Tencent’s electric car unit to partner in 13.3bn yuan venture to build green vehicles in Jiangxi province

The electric car venture backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings will invest 13.3 billion yuan to build a production plant in southeastern China's Jiangxi province, betting big on the increasing demand for green cars in China.

The subsidiary of Harmony Futeng, an electric car venture formed by Tencent, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, and luxury car dealer China Harmony Auto Holding, have signed an agreement with the Jiangxi government to build a production plant, the Jiangxi Daily reported on Monday.

An electric changing station for taxis in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on September 13, 2016. Photo: Bloomberg

The plant, located in Shangrao city, will have an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles comprising pure-electric sedans, sports utility vehicles, and multi-purpose vehicles and batteries, the report said, without providing a time frame for completion of the plant.

Jiangxi province’s vice governor Mao Weiming was quoted as saying that he hoped the plant can go into operation soon.

Last year Harmony Futeng set up Future Mobility Corp, an electric car start-up, which reflected the first project by the Tencent subsidiary.

Banking on the rising demand of new energy vehicles in China, Tencent has also invested in another electric car start-up NextEV, which is seen as a rival of US carmaker Tesla.

Future Mobility’s chief executive said in July that the company planned to have its first driverless vehicles on the road by 2020.

The company aims to make Future Mobility a premium brand for middle-class drivers in China.

Harmony Futeng has also set up another car unit, Aiche Internet Intelligent Electric Vehicle Co, which will run the Shangrao production plant.

Unlike Future Mobility, Aiche targets the mass market and aims to produce more affordable electric cars. Aiche is headed by Fu Qiang, a former senior executive of Volvo China Sales Co.

Fellow internet companies including Baidu and LeEco have also unveiled plans to build electric vehicles.

Official data showed that new energy car sales in the first nine months increased by 43.8 per cent on year to 44,000 units.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Tencent-backed venture to build electric car plant