General Motors is to buy back the 1% share in its Chinese joint venture from partner SAIC , according to the Wall Street Journal.

The share was sold to ease GM’s finances at the start of the financial crisis and the buy-back will bring the venture back to a 50-50 split for operations in China including setting the budget and picking company heads. It would allow SAIC to retain a 51% share on the sales side of the business.

SAIC will also keep control of booking revenue for the Shanghai GM joint venture. The move will require regulatory approval from the Chinese government.

The 1% share was sold to SAIC in 2010 for about US$85m.GM has not confirmed the buy-back and it is not known how much it will cost.

Shanghai GM is the biggest automaker by sales in China. Last month it sold 113,047 vehicles, up 11% over last year.

SAIC is in a similar venture 50-50 joint venture with Volkswagen.