HONG KONG (Yonhap News) ― Hyundai Motor Co., Korea’s No. 1 auto maker, has established a research center in Beijing in an effort to expand its business in China, company officials said Wednesday.
The recent launch of the “Hyundai Motor Research Institute for the China Management” comes after China replaced Korea as the largest market for Hyundai Motor last year.
The Korean company sold 700,000 cars in China in 2010, with demand in the world’s most populous country continuing to grow rapidly.
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo (right) greets Banca Sandanter’s chairman Emilio Botin at the carmaker’s office in Seoulon Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
“The institute was established in an effort to study China’s industry policies and analyze the ever-changing Chinese market,” the company’s Chinese subsidiary said in a statement.
Hyundai Motor said it has relocated some researchers from its headquarters in Seoul to Beijing and plans to increase the size of the organization by hiring local researchers in China.
It is the first time for the auto manufacturer, which has a number of research and development centers in the United States and Europe, to establish one in China.
Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., sold a combined 1.1 million vehicles in China last year, grabbing a 9 percent market share.
In 2009, China topped the U.S. to become the world’s biggest auto market. Global carmakers, such as Volkswagen, BMW and Toyota, have also enjoyed strong sales in China.