Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems plans to produce drive motors for electric vehicles (EVs) in China's Guangdong province by 2020.

The company is a joint venture established last July between Honda Motor and Hitachi Automotive Systems, the automotive components division of Hitachi, for the development and production of electric motors for electric and hybrid vehicles. 

It is 51% owned by Hitachi and 49% by Honda and is based in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan.

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told reporters that manufacturing electric motors is very capital intensive. By partnering with Hitachi it is looking to tap into its electric motor expertise and substantial customer base to maximise volumes and economies of scale.

With China emerging as by far the largest and fastest growing market for EVs globally, it was inevitable that this partnership would seek to expand into China. The company also plans to establish a factory in the US.

Hitachi Automotive Systems is a longtime supplier of components including engine management, electrical and chassis systems to Honda. It biggest client is Renault-Nissan, however, which accounts for one third of its global sales, according to local reports. The company also supplies components to Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford.