General Motors reportedly has won final approval to begin operating China’s first auto financing company, beating foreign rivals who are queuing to enter the largely untapped market.

According to Reuters, fewer than 20% of new cars sold in China are financed, with large state banks dominating the market, but auto makers are hoping car financing will fuel the next stage of explosive growth in the country even as car sales slow.

GM reportedly expects that in 10 years up to half of all Chinese car buyers will be financing their purchases, but executives have said the industry still needs a national credit rating system and procedures for reclaiming cars that are defaulted on.

GM said it did not know exactly when the venture would formally start offering loans to consumers, Reuters noted.

“I think it will be safe to say in the next couple of months,” spokeswoman Daphne Zheng told the news agency. “Some of the next steps will be administrative. It might be very quick, or it might take some time. This is really in the hands of the government.”

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Reuters said China has no central credit rating agency, no laws to repossess cars from errant borrowers, and – after just a few years – a swelling pool of non-performing auto loans.

Analysts reportedly said these uncertainties mean providing credit would not necessarily translate into an immediate sales fillip.

“It’s still very difficult to check people’s credit and there’s no easy answer to this problem,” Yale Zhang at auto consultants CSM told Reuters. “The auto loan market is still very small, it’s going to take time to develop.”

The new finance company, a joint venture between the finance units of GM and long-time Chinese partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., will have 500 million yuan ($60.4 million) in registered capital, an official with the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s Shanghai branch told Reuters.

GM’s finance arm will contribute 300 million yuan, with the rest coming from the Chinese partner, the regulator reportedly said in a statement.

“In recent years, car ownership has increased, and this means there is great need for auto financing services,” it added, according to Reuters.

Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota already have initial approval to enter the Chinese auto loan arena, the report added.