Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup Enovate Motors said it had signed a deal to assemble its vehicles in Saudi Arabia, according to local reports.

The Zhejiang automaker said it signed the agreement, during the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to the kingdom last week, to establish a joint venture with local real estate company Sumou to build an assembly plant with annual capacity for 100,000 EVs per year.

Enovate, backed by Shanghai Electric, said the joint venture’s US$500m cost would also include an R&D centre.

Enovate has an EV plant in Shaoxing, Zhejiang which makes the ME7, a crossover with a cruising range of 510km (320 miles), plus the compact ME5 SUV. The company recently unveiled the ME-S ‘high energy’ luxury sports sedan concept.

Enovate reportedly sold under 3,000 vehicles in China in the first 10 months of 2022.