(Yicai Global) Oct. 11 -- Great Wall Motor Co. [SHA:601633], headquartered in China's northern Hebei province, is looking to form a joint venture with German automobile giant BMW AG [ETR:BMW;FRA:BMW], formally known as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, in China, and is currently selecting a site for the factory.
The two companies began talks a few months ago, an official from eastern Jiangsu province's Changshu Economic Development Zone said. They are currently seeking a suitable factory site and hope to make progress by the end of the year, iAuto magazine reported yesterday. However, a Great Wall insider wouldn't confirm the report and BMW didn't respond.
Changshu Economic Development Zone hopes to provide 1,000 acres (666,700 square meters) of land for the factory, though the official said nothing is settled yet. The zone is already home to two automotive factories, one run by Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Co. and the other by Qoros Auto Co.
BMW set up a 50-50 joint venture with HuaChen Group Auto Holding Co. [HKG:1114;FWB:CBA], better known as Brilliance Auto Group, in China's Liaoning province in 2003. The company produces and sells BMWs in China. Qi Yumin, chairman of Brilliance Auto, once claimed BMW would not set up a Chinese joint venture with other car makers.
Great Wall Motors was founded in 1998. It hasn't yet signed any cooperation deals with foreign car makers, but stands to boost its brand value and gain favor in the capital market by creating ties with BMW, the report said.