Great Wall exports include right hand drive trucks to Australia, New Zealand and, soon, UK

Great Wall exports include right hand drive trucks to Australia, New Zealand and, soon, UK

China's Great Wall Motor plans to set up vehicle assembly lines in five countries by the end of 2012 as it steps up efforts to expand overseas, state media said on Tuesday.

The privately owned automaker, based in the northern province of Hebei, wants to make vehicles in Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal, Bulgaria and the Philippines with local partners, the China Daily said.

The five plants will have an annual production capacity of more than 100,000 units, the report said, citing Great Wall chairman Wei Jianjun, according to AFP.

The newspaper did not specify whether the figure referred to individual or combined capacity.

The company has also struck initial agreements with local partners in South Africa, Brazil, Thailand and Turkey to establish manufacturing facilities in those countries in the near future, Wei said.

Great Wall is China's largest maker of pickup trucks.

The company exports pickups, sports utility vehicles and sedans to more than 100 countries, and runs assembly plants in Russia, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt and Ukraine, the report said.

"Frankly speaking, we achieve higher profit margins in overseas markets than domestic markets," Wei said.

Great Wall's net profit in the first half more than tripled year on year to CNY867.1m (US$127.6m) on strong sales, it said this month. Total vehicle sales topped 148,000 units in the period, up 70.6% on year, the company said.

Wei said Great Wall plans to boost exports to 540,000 units by 2015, accounting for 30% of its planned total sales of 1.8m units in the same period, the report said.

The company said it exported 21,434 units in the first half, without giving a figure for the same period last year.