Johnson Controls says it plans to build a new automotive battery manufacturing facility in the city of Shenyang in northeastern China.

Johnson Controls has signed an investment agreement for a $200m plant that is located in the Tiexi District of Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning Province. It says it will have capacity to produce 6m automotive batteries a year.

Construction of the new plant is expected to begin early next year with production starting in 2018. Batteries for Start-Stop vehicles, which can help automakers meet increasingly strict fuel economy and emission regulations, will be a primary focus of the new facility.

“We have a long-term commitment to China, and the new plant will play a strategic role in our plans to meet the increasing expectations of quality products and services from customers and consumers in the country, which is one of our most important markets in the world,” said Joe Walicki, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

Johnson Controls and leaders from the local Shenyang government came together to sign the agreement.

“We welcome the decision of Johnson Controls to establish its new plant in Shenyang, and we believe the company can bring its world-class manufacturing and sustainability experiences and its advanced technologies to the city for local economic development,” said Pan Liguo, mayor of Shenyang City.

“We want to thank the local government for its support, and will work closely with our external stakeholders including local customers, consumers and communities to build a sustainable business,” said Kenneth Yeng, vice president and general manager, Johnson Controls Power Solutions China.

Located in the core area of the Circum-Bohai-Sea Region, Shenyang has been an important industrial base for China since the 1930s. It has developed a solid and diversified industrial foundation with a convenient transportation network and a trained workforce.