Auto sales in China are forecast to grow 20% this year overtaking the US as the world’s largest car market.

Chinese media reports cite the strong growth in sales as evidence of the potential power of the market as Western producers increasingly eye the vast country for both imports and local manufacture.

The reports quote the director of the Economic Research Institute of the State Information Centre speaking at this week’s Beijing Auto show.

As an example of the market’s extraordinary growth potential BMW sold more than 90,000 cars in China last year, while in the first three months of 2010 alone, the German automaker recorded sales increasing by more than 100%.

This year BMW aims to supply around 120,000 vehicles to China.