FAW Jiefang, the commercial unit of China’s oldest carmaker, has upped the ante in the eco-friendly vehicle segment by pledging to spend 30 billion yuan (US$4.6 billion) on research facilities across four countries and a base for fuel-cell vehicle systems. The company based in Changchun, in northeastern China’s Jilin province, said it aimed to deliver half a million new-energy vehicles a year by 2035, which would make up 70 per cent of its total sales. “FAW Jiefang will reinforce our push for a leading position in the pure-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell technologies,” chairman Hu Hanjin said in a statement. “We are laying out a comprehensive strategy that encompasses research and development, production and ecosystem to ensure that we will grasp leading technologies .” The company said it would deliver 120,000 green vehicles in 2025, a fifth of its total sales, jumping to 320,000 units in 2030, which would account for half of its sales by that time. Its parent, state-owned FAW Group, one of the mainland’s three largest domestic automotive companies, is the local partner of Toyota and Volkswagen. Its iconic Red Flag car is an instantly recognisable symbol of Chinese Communist Party might. “State-owned automotive companies in China are all gearing up to support the government’s carbon neutrality goal of 2060,” said Eric Han, a senior manager with Shanghai-based business advisory firm Suolei. “Their large amount of investment is set to bolster the country’s ambitions of becoming a world leader in the new-energy vehicle business .” FAW Jiefang said 20 billion yuan would be allocated for building research and development bases across nine cities in four countries, but did not specify which ones. It did not provide details about the emission-free plant either. The company also announced it would invest another 10 billion yuan to create a production base focusing on fuel-cell vehicles and systems. China is the world’s largest electric vehicle market with sales expected to more than double from a year ago to top 2.4 million this year. Swiss bank UBS has predicted that three of every five new cars on mainland China’s roads will be powered by batteries by 2030. State-owned car giants including SAIC Motor and Dongfeng Motor are also looking to strengthen their research and manufacturing capabilities in the green vehicle segment by setting up independent units with multi-billion yuan investments. In June, Shanghai-based SAIC said it would spin off a unit focusing on hydrogen fuel-cell technologies, and list it on a stock exchange to rev up its diversification into alternative-fuel vehicles. Dongfeng Motor, based in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province, launched a new brand called Voyah as it joined the fray against domestic and foreign rivals in the electric vehicle segment. In 2018, the Chinese government lined up a record credit line of 1.015 trillion yuan for FAW Group, an unprecedented level of financial support for a state-owned enterprise.