Kumho Tyre has broken ground for its third Chinese plant in the northeastern city of Changchun to boost annual production in the fast-growing market to 21m tyres.

According to the Korea Herald, Kumho said it will invest $US150m in the Chanchun factory in Jilin Province which will be capable of churning out 3.15m units per year after completion in late 2007.

"We aim to become a leader in the Chinese market as well as one of the world's top five tyre makers," said Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-koo at the groundbreaking ceremony in Changchun.

Korea's second-largest tyre maker plans to supply most of the original equipment and high-performance tyres made at Changcun to China First Automotive Group.

Kumho completed a factory capable of rolling out 12m tyres in Nanjing in April last year. Another plant with a capacity of 5.25m is slated for completion next month in Tianjin, the northern port that serves the Beijing metropolitan region.

The tyre maker also signed an agreement in March to build a plant in Vietnam to churn out 3.15m units annually.