The Malaysian government has awarded a licence for the production of Great Wall Motor Company vehicles in the country from 2018.

The licence was awarded to the privately-owned local company Go Automobile Manufacturing, which plans to spend MYR2bn (US$618m) over the next four years on manufacturing facilities in the Malaysian state of Kedah.

Great Wall is expected to take a stake in the manufacturing venture at a later stage. The assembly plant will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 vehicles per year with 60% of output earmarked for export to other south-east Asian markets. It will assemble SUVs and other passenger vehicle models.

This is the first automotive investment announcement in Malaysia since the government enacted its revised Nation Automotive Policy in January and trade minister Mustapa Mohamad expects others to follow later in the year.