General Motors expects to boost exports from China by nearly 70% this year because of strong demand for its locally-developed, low-cost cars.

GM China chief Bob Socia told Reuters the carmaker plans to export up to 130,000 vehicles this year, up from 77,000 in 2012. The boost is largely from demand for the Chevrolet Sail in other emerging markets.

Socia said: "While GM's primary philosophy is to manufacture where it sells, we find that product exports are necessary to meet global market demands when GM does not have local manufacturing capabilities for a particular vehicle."

The Sail, co-developed with Chinese partner SAIC, is the first foreign brand in China with a price tag below CNY60,000 (US$9,800). It accounted for 80% of GM's exports from China last year.

To meet increasing demand from abroad, GM is now assembling the Sail in Colombia, Ecuador and India using components supplied by its Shanghai venture with SAIC.

In the first four months of this year, GM shipped 33,623 vehicles overseas, overtaking Geely as China's second largest car exporter after Chery which shipped 46,234.