FAW Group announced plans to invest CNY210bn (US$31bn) to develop its Hongqi brand into a leading global premium automotive brand in the long term.

An initial revival plan for the Hongqi (Red Flag) brand, which was originally established in 1958 and is known more widely for its large official Communist Party limousines, was launched in 2018. Until then, its sales had been very limited.

At a meeting in Changchun, in Jilin province, state owned FAW Group unveiled plans to invest heavily in the Hongqi brand's research and development (R&D) and increase its R&D personnel to 30,000 within a decade.

FAW Group, a key local partner for Volkswagen, Toyota and Mazda, is the country's second largest automaker with sales up by 8% at 2.66m vehicles in the first nine months of 2020.

FAW Group chairman Xu Liuping confirmed the plan, saying it covered seven key areas of development, including powertrain electrification, connectivity and digitalisation.

Hongqi's sales in the first 10months of 2020 more than doubled to 153,000 units split between eight models. A further 13 are currently under development.

The company expects full year sales to reach 200,000 units, rising to 400,000 in 2021.