Chinese automakers are ramping up their manufacturing efforts in China, bringing back their factory to China after a decade-long absence, but the project has raised questions about the viability of the Chinese-built products and about whether they can survive in a country where a large part of the population is illiterate.
The move by China’s state-owned auto giant to make its first-ever production of an electric vehicle in the country follows a similar effort by Chinese carmaker BYD, which in January began production of the EV, and was seen as a sign that China is becoming a major player in the global auto market.
The government is also investing heavily in new factories, and it is now expected to build 3,000 to 3,500 electric cars a year by 2025, according to China Automotive Industry Association (CAIA), which represents manufacturers of EVs.
China has a growing market for electric cars and has become a major source of investment for the industry, with more than $1.7 billion in venture capital in 2015.
The government, however, has struggled to attract investment for its own vehicle industry, and has invested less in new car factories than other countries.
China’s government plans to open a factory in Hubei province in the second half of this year, and is also considering investing in more factories in the southern province of Guangdong.
China is not alone in its push to invest in its own automotive industry.
The United States, which has invested heavily in electric vehicles, plans to invest $20 billion over the next five years in the electric vehicle sector.
The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, has also said that the US government would invest $10 billion in the sector over the same period.