Delphi Corporation will invest $US50 million in a new research and development centre in Shanghai to help supply China's booming car market, Reuters reported.

Delphi, which expects sales in China to rise over 40% to around $1 billion this year, will likely open the wholly-owned facility in June 2005, spokesman Jay Jiang told Reuters on Wednesday.

"It will focus on how to support domestic customers as they have more new models coming out and need R&D and engineering support," Jiang reportedly said.

The facility, situated in Shanghai's Pudong development area, would be the company's 33rd global technical centre, Jiang told Reuters.

The report said the centre brings Delphi's total investment in China to $450 million and noted that, earlier this year, the company spent an extra $12 million in a new emission-controlling product line and several more million dollars in wiring accessories.

"The market is always growing faster than investment," Jinya Chen, president of Delphi's China operations, told Reuters, though he declined to say how much the company was expecting to pump into the country in the future.

Chen told Reuters that about a quarter of output from Delphi's China plants is now exported but the majority goes to the fast-growing local market, where vehicle production is expected to reach 4.25 million units this year, up from around 3.25 million in 2002.

"We want to satisfy demand not only in China, but also globally," Chen told Reuters.