Chinese car exports almost doubled to 300,000 units in 2006, exceeding imports for the second year in a row, state media said on Wednesday.

Vehicle imports reached 229,000 units in 2006, up 40.7% from a year earlier, Reuters quoted the official Xinhua news agency as saying.

China sold 172,800 vehicles overseas in 2005, up 120% from a year earlier, helped by shipments of cheap models mostly to developing markets, the report said, adding that imports climbed 8% to 161,900 units in 2005, according to official figures.