Hyundai Motor is moving more firmly into China with a $US250 million 50-50 joint venture car factory near Beijing with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, The Financial Times (FT) said.

The FT said the factory would produce 200,000 vehicles a year by 2005 and would be Hyundai’s first big car plant in China, though it already makes minibuses there.

Hyundai is also expected to build European and US plants soon, the FT said.

A recent USA Today report said that the company would soon announce its choice of two sites in Ohio and Alabama for the Korean car industry’s first US plant.

The FT said that Hyundai’s European site is a longer-term project but added that the Koreans are already researching possible locations, with eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic considered favourites.